City collaboration helps the UK find its voice at MIPIM

Birmingham joins other cities to promote the UK’s inward investment potential.

City leaders discuss HS2 on Birmingham's MIPIM stand

City leaders discuss HS2 on Birmingham’s MIPIM stand

With MIPIM 2013 drawing to a close, Birmingham’s delegation is reflecting upon a renewed focus by several of the country’s core cities to work together to engage international investors.

Led by inward investment programme Business Birmingham, the city’s presence at the world’s largest property show involved 18 partners and nine well-attended events. Three events involved several UK cities, with discussions ranging from funding urban regeneration to the importance of new transport infrastructure.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Joining forces with other UK cities at MIPIM shows that we understand the importance of collaboration in attracting investment and generating growth. Birmingham is home to large companies that have sites, clients and supply chains based across the UK. It is in our interest to promote the opportunities that stretch beyond our region, such as the expansion of transport links.

“Ultimately we are here to promote Birmingham, but as part of this we must prove to foreign investors that the UK as a whole is exciting, innovative and a welcoming place for business.”

Property consultant GVA hosted a debate involving the city heads of Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester, which discussed investment in new urban development. They considered how public sector systems can unlock private capital, and the importance of localised strategies and economic devolution to stimulate regional economies – as no one model will fit all cities. Initiatives including Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone – which will help to fund schemes such as Paradise Circus – and the Greater Birmingham Project were highlighted as approaches that other cities can follow.

Ian Stringer, Senior Regional Director at GVA, has now attended MIPIM three times. He added: “This year, there appears to have been much more focus on inward investment in the UK as an entity, with a more collegiate approach. Instead of being in competition with London, we have seen the core regional cities working collaboratively and this has engendered a greater sense of unity and a feeling that these cities are working together for the greater good of the UK’s overall growth prospects and prosperity.”

Other key events included lively discussions by city leaders about the economic impact of HS2 Phase Two and Birmingham Airport’s runway extension. At the HS2 event, several core cities supported the link as a way to boost growth and spread wealth – with Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, highlighting that regional cities already “keep the lights on” for the UK’s economy.

Law firm DLA Piper hosted an event with Birmingham City Council to discuss the opportunities for investors in the automotive sector. Peter Taylor, National Head of Planning at DLA Piper, explained how Birmingham is leading other cities in realising its economic potential:

“From launching the UK’s largest city centre Enterprise Zone, to announcing plans for six sector-focused economic zones and being selected as a pilot city for Lord Heseltine’s proposals to devolve powers and funds from Whitehall to the regions, we have made real progress in creating the right conditions to attract developers and investors and to lay the foundations of our pathway back to growth.”

MIPIM provides Birmingham with a unique opportunity to showcase its new developments, infrastructure and initiatives to nearly 20,000 international property experts and investors. Peter Crowther, Development Director & Regional Director at Bruntwood in Birmingham, added: “MIPIM 2013 has been similar to previous years in that it has involved a whirlwind series of meetings, to catch up with existing contacts and making new ones in equal measure. The Birmingham stand events provide a good framework around which to base other activities. As has been the case in the last few years the attendees tend to be fewer in number, but more focused and more senior.”