A new Midlands investment hub, overseas trade missions and extra government funding will see the ‘Midlands Engine’ firing on all cylinders.
Addressing business leaders and decision-makers at the Midlands Engine Summit today (July 4) – hosted at D2N2 university partner, Nottingham Trent University’s city campus – Business Minister Anna Soubry announced further support to boost growth in the region and help the Midlands Engine realise its vision, and bring 300,000 jobs and £34billion to the UK economy.
A new Midlands Engine foreign investment hub based in Birmingham will help deliver more high value investments into the Midlands Engine. Close to Birmingham International Airport and mainline rail connections, the hub will bring together a range of partners including the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)– among them, the D2N2 LEP promoting economic growth and jobs creation across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
When established, the new Midlands Engine foreign investment hub will be tasked with creating 1,400 jobs and bringing £15million of foreign investment into the region over the next three years. It will also manage a £2million Challenge Fund.
Successful bids for the Challenge Fund include, over the next three to four years:
- £375,000 to fund a Midlands-wide pavilion at the international property convention MIPIM (held annually in Cannes, France) to market investment opportunities to property developers;
- £550,000 to spread and improve the benefits of the supply chain support to the automotive industry to the whole region;
- £100,000 towards increasing rail-related projects and jobs;
- £375,000 towards bringing more life science investment and jobs to the Midlands.
North America will welcome the first major Midlands Engine trade mission in September (2016), with Business Secretary Sajid Javid leading the delegation.
The Midlands Engine region is home to over 11.5million people and makes a £222billion annual contribution to the UK economy boasting many globally significant employers, a strong manufacturing and engineering base; as well as growing sectors such as creative, life science and green technologies – often linked to the area’s many excellent universities.
Today’s delegates heard about the success of the £180m public and private Energy Research Accelerator partnership and the progress being made by Midlands Connect; the strategic transport partnership developing a Midlands-wide transport strategy to significantly improve journey times, east-west connectivity, freight movements and international links, which could bring a £1billion-a-year boost to the regional economy and save businesses nearly £500m.
Sir John Peace, the recently appointed Chair of the Supervisory Board for the Midlands Engine, told delegates what had been achieved since the Midlands Engine Prospectus was launched in December 2015.
He said: “I have been very impressed since becoming the Chair of the Midlands Engine with the tireless work that has already been put in by the public and private sectors, to gear-up the Midlands Engine since it was launched just a few months ago.
“I believe we are now ready to very clearly and very loudly speak with one united voice on the world’s stage. The Midlands is the beating heart of UK manufacturing, we are the beating heart of the country and the home to global iconic businesses; we are a magnet for investment and we can deliver results which can drive forward the UK economy.
“Now that we know the result of the Referendum, regardless of individual views on the outcome, we in the Midlands must seize on this and turn it into an opportunity to deliver jobs, growth and innovation. We are perfectly placed to deliver the message of our readiness straight to the very heart of Government today through the Minister of State for the Department for Business, demonstrating our willingness to lead the UK trade offer at such an important time.”
Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Following the EU Referendum result, I recognise there’s a level of uncertainty over what the future holds. But now’s the time to work together and support businesses to build partnerships that can help them grow.
“Local economies are key to the success of UK growth, and this new government funding for the Midlands will help attract investment, encourage trade and create jobs. So let’s keep telling the rest of the world what we already know: that the Midlands Engine is a great place to do business, with excellent universities and local leaders committed to seeing the area thrive.”
Speaking at today’s event Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council and D2N2 Board Member, added: “We’re proud to be hosting the Midlands Engine Summit here in Nottingham, and the timing of the summit couldn’t have been any better given the unprecedented time and unchartered territory we now find ourselves in following the Referendum result.
“It’s now even more important that the region’s institutions and business community pull together and show the world that we are a progressive and outward looking region which is open for business, innovation and opportunities.”
An expert panel including (pictured above, left to right) Anita Bhalla, former BBC broadcaster and Chair of Creative City Birmingham; Andy Halford, Group Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive Director of Standard Chartered plc; Mark Goldby, Managing Director and co-founder of SMS Electronics & SMS Product Services; and Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine Board, also answered audience questions around the theme of ‘The place of the Midlands in the UK, Europe and the world’. Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, chaired the panel discussion.
Delegates from Midlands’ visitor economy organisations also heard how they could bid for a share of a £40million ‘Discover England’ fund to promote tourism.
Media wanting further information on the work of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 957 8749 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org