Investors from around the world gathered today (Tuesday November 24) for the start of a landmark conference showcasing more than £17 billion of investment opportunities across the Midlands.
In what is the region’s and the UK’s first trade and investment event of its kind, the Midlands UK Forum for Growth is bringing together public and private sector leaders and investors from around the globe, including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace and Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby.
The three-day conference, which is being held online, will present investors with a huge range of opportunities across housing, transport and regeneration to drive economic growth in the region.
It is being led by England’s leading pan-regional partnership, the Midlands Engine, with the aim to achieve the region’s vision for greater sustainable growth and economic prosperity.
The event comes as the UK government looks to drive forward plans to ‘level up’ the country with a 10-point plan for a green recovery. It will highlight the central role the Midlands can play in helping to execute the Prime Minister’s ambition to build back bigger, better and greener.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “There are challenging times ahead but as this three-day event will show there are also major investment opportunities.
“These are underpinned by the huge investment taking place in our region’s connectivity both physically, with new rail and Metro schemes and HS2, and digitally thanks to the West Midlands being home to the UK biggest 5G network and testbed.
“And, of course, we have Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to look forward to – both of which can give our economy a timely boost in tourism, trade and investment.
“So these factors, together with our fundamental strengths in a young and diverse population, top class academic institutions, major economic assets and, of course, a dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit – will enable us to bounce back to our pre-pandemic levels of economic success.”
Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, added: “This event is the very first of its kind in the UK.
“Over the next three days we will be showcasing to our global audience – £17.6 billion worth of tangible investment opportunities.
“The potential for growth here in the Midlands is vast. And by bringing all of this potential together – into a single platform of international investment opportunities – we are truly pioneering.
“No other region in the UK is doing this. That we are, is testament to the strength of our Midlands Engine Partnership.”
Communities Secretary and Midlands Engine Champion, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: “A thriving Midlands Engine is essential to a successful UK economy, and will be vital to the recovery of the country from the pandemic.
“That’s why this government is backing the Midlands with the investment the region needs to grow its £250 billion economy.
“With the substantial financial support that the Government has provided, we can ensure that its businesses have the support that they need as we level up across the region.
“As Midlands Engine Champion around the Cabinet table it is great to see how the partnership is promoting the wealth of investment opportunities the Midlands has to offer, both nationally and globally, as a region at the vanguard of our green recovery and the heart of the country’s transport and logistics.”
The Midlands UK Forum for Growth is a unique opportunity to bring together public and private organisations from the Midlands, along with international investors, to gain a comprehensive insight into the region’s strategy, policy and plans for sustainable growth: from infrastructure, investment and innovation, to skills and education, homes and communities, clean energy and technology.
Home to almost 11 million people – more than Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales combined – the Midlands drives 22% of England’s exports and generates £239 billion for the UK economy each year – an economy the size of Denmark’s.
The Midlands has seen significant growth over the past five years, but for the government to fulfil its promises to level up the region, regional leaders are calling for further investment across sectors such as green energy, digital and transport connectivity to help drive the growth that the country needs and to reach net zero.