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What do bathroom scales, automated traffic lights and self-adhesive stamps all have in common?

Aside from being objects that people around the world will likely encounter on a daily basis, they are also all inventions that were pioneered right here in the West Midlands.

The fact(s) of the matter

Celebrating how the region has made its mark globally was the theme of the West Midlands Growth Company’s latest commercial partner event, held on Wednesday 3 July at Canalside, Birmingham.

Partners were introduced to a collection of 50 facts, curated to showcase the unique influence that the region has had on the world.

Spanning core industry sectors and an eclectic mix of cultural and sporting activities, the 50 facts reveal how innovators, makers and creators from the West Midlands have shaped the world we live in and continue to lead the way today.

A revolutionary region

Liz McKenzie, Vice Chair of the West Midlands Growth Company, said she considered the region’s leading role in transport innovation as one of its most impressive global contributions.

“I think the most inspiring fact is that the first steel-burning engine came from here, which then went on to create trains. Trains revolutionised the economy and the world in general as a mass method of moving product and people around. They’re a fantastic innovation that the region is still at the forefront of developing today – for example, HS2, Hydrogen-powered trains, Very Light Rail (VLR) and trams.”

Talking about how the region will continue to make its mark in the future, Matthew Hammond, Chairman – West Midlands Growth Company, said:

“For me, it’s all about tech. Tech is pervading everything we do and the West Midlands has started to embrace it very quickly right across the region. From electric vehicles at Warwick to Silicon Spa in Leamington, or in Wolverhampton exploring how we can use tech to re-engineer our approach to the housing crisis, so that we are building affordable and high-quality homes for a whole new generation.”

Putting partners to the test

Rabia Raza and Tom Marlow from the West Midlands Growth Company’s communications team tested partners’ knowledge of the 50 facts by hosting a fun quiz about some of the very best inventions, culinary treats, music and people to have come from the region. 

How well do you know the region?

Missed the event but want to test your West Midlands knowledge? Answer these questions to see if you know some of the 50 ways we’ve made our mark:

1)    By 1820, what percentage of everything written in the world was with a Birmingham pen?

a.    50%
b.    75%
c.    60%

2)    How many words did Stratford-upon-Avon’s William Shakespeare create?

a.    700
b.    1,700
c.    2,700

3)    Meera Syal, Sathnam Sanghera and Caitlin Moran were all born were in the West Midlands?

a.    Walsall
b.    Sandwell
c.    Wolverhampton

Read the 50 facts to discover the answers and follow the #50waysWM campaign on Twitter