Global investment experts land in Birmingham

Three day visit will examine the city’s potential to attract new business.

Site selectors visit the Library of Birmingham.

Site selectors visit the Library of Birmingham.

The world’s leading experts on investment locations have arrived in Birmingham this week to learn about the city’s considerable investment potential. From 11th-13th September ten site selectors from the US and Europe are taking part in one of the biggest visits of its kind to a European city. The delegates, who advise the world’s biggest companies where they should locate, are learning what Birmingham can offer their clients.

Organised by inward investment programme Business Birmingham, the trip focuses on the city’s key selling points – from its recognised high quality of living to its world-class manufacturing expertise. The visit includes a tour of Jaguar Land Rover’s flagship Solihull site, which is creating 1,700 new jobs. Kathy Mussio is Managing Partner at Atlas Insight, a site selection firm based in the US. Explaining why she decided to take part in the tour, Kathy said: “Birmingham has real potential for the global companies we advise, especially in the financial services, insurance and back office space. I wanted to see Birmingham first hand because it has a compelling inward investment story and a good value proposition as a lower cost London alternative.I am also interested in learning more about the city’s other growth sectors. This week’s announcement from Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates that this is a growing business destination and a place to watch.”

Business and civic leaders from across Birmingham will be meeting the delegates throughout the visit. Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, welcomed them to the city at the new Library of Birmingham yesterday. They were also joined by 25 senior business figures at an evening reception.

The site selectors will be updated on sectors where Birmingham excels, including advanced engineering, with law firm Squire Sanders providing an overview of the industry. The city’s emerging life sciences sector will also be a key focus for the trip. Delegates will be visiting University Hospitals Birmingham and the University of Birmingham to learn more about areas including clinical research and training – while Calthorpe Estates will present a blueprint for the new Edgbaston Medical Quarter. Trips to the city’s latest schemes will include Two Snow Hill and a tour of Longbridge hosted by developer St Modwen. Argent has briefed the site selectors on its £450 million makeover of Paradise Circus, a flagship site that will replace the city’s old library.

Attendees will also learn about Birmingham’s quality of life – which is recognised as better than any regional UK city by global locations expert Mercer. In addition to tours of the new Library and Aston Villa Football Club, they are being treated to a private viewing of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon metalwork ever found, at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

This is the second year running that a group of site selectors have been invited to Birmingham. It builds on a year of success – with Birmingham attracting a 52% increase in inward investment projects during 2012/13 against a 4% rise nationally. Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director at Business Birmingham, commented: “While the figures must stack up in deciding where to locate, business leaders must also believe that they are making the right decision based on the culture and ecosystem of a city. This visit is an incredibly important way to win over the experts who advise large investors – experiencing Birmingham for themselves will help them understand what a great destination it is.

On the final night of the tour (Business Birmingham is hosting a panel debate about inward investment as part of the European Trade Study Group conference happening in the city this week. Taking place at the ICC before 300 attendees, the panel will include academics from the conference and three members of the site selector delegation. The discussion will focus on overseas perceptions of Birmingham, how the city is performing against its international competitors, and the role of universities in attracting foreign investment.