The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBS LEP) has launched its ‘Strategy for Growth’ white paper today, which sets out how the LEP aims to unlock growth and prosperity across the area.
Focusing on the three pillars of business, people and place, the document outlines the five key priorities that have to be tackled to deliver economic growth: creating a new eco-system for business support, providing clear leadership in growth sectors, reducing the skills deficit, supporting the development of vital employment land and housing and improving physical and digital connectivity.
GBS LEP is now asking businesses, partners, stakeholders and individuals living across the nine areas to have their say on the white paper.
This can be done via an online questionnaire at www.gbslep.com, a written submission or at one of the engagement events, starting with one for Mid-Sized Businesses on October 10th. The closing date for responses is 16th November.
Steve Hollis, Deputy Chair at GBS LEP, explained: “Since its inception eighteen months ago, the LEP has made significant progress – the UK’s largest City Centre Enterprise Zone has been created, a transformational City Deal has been signed with Government and funding has been made available to businesses through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and the Business Development Programme.
“Perhaps our greatest achievement has been the new level of coalition we have forged between the private and public sectors. This will be critical in delivering future success, as will our relationship with Government that has strengthened as we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on the growth agenda.”
He continued: “However, we recognise that this is just the start of the journey. The purpose of this White Paper is to explain in detail our aspirations and vision and allow all our partners and stakeholders to input, challenge and discuss with us the things that matter most for regional growth.
“We know we don’t have all the answers yet, and in the current climate of uncertainty we appreciate that the economic imperatives which drive us may evolve. However, there is a need to set out key priorities for long-term change and for short-term action and to examine the enablers that are going to get us there.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, added his support: “This is the opportunity for everyone living and working in the LEP area to have their say on the strategy and, ultimately, help shape the way we are going to tackle key issues and deliver sustainable growth within the Greater Birmingham area.”
He continued: “The White Paper has been guided by existing data, new research, feedback taken at engagement events and expert commentary. We now want to test out our thinking with you.”
The White Paper goes into detail on the three pillars of business, people and place, identifying key objectives that need to be met in order to achieve the desired transformation.
Some of the high priority areas include:
- Develop a central business portal of support across the LEP
- Improve access to finance for businesses through the roll out of ‘Finance Birmingham’, delivery of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and the creation of new finance products
- Grow new clusters of business in key sectors including advanced engineering and life sciences
- Produce a LEP Skills Plan based on a detailed analysis of local labour market and skills needs
- Recruit local industry champions for growth sectors and education who will be leaders of and catalysts for change
- Deliver Skills for Growth Compact committing employers, colleges and schools to build a best-in-class skills service to link pupils and learners with real-world work opportunities
- Develop a Transport City Deal to improve connectivity, ensuring alignment with M42 Economic Gateway and wider place priorities
- Establish a fully operational Enterprise Zone including the commencement of retention of all additional businesses rates generated from businesses within the zone
- Deliver the Creative City Partnership, using the creative and cultural sectors to drive growth
The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP plans to factor in feedback from the consultation before releasing the Strategy for Growth in the New Year.