Business Birmingham recognised at global inward investment awards

Agency tops European rankings in the Best to Invest 2015 awards.

Business Birmingham has been recognised as one of the best inward investment bodies in Europe by international trade title, Site Selection.

As part of the magazine’s Best to Invest 2015 awards, Business Birmingham is named as one of the two top regional Investment Promotion Agencies for Europe, alongside Invest in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

The annual awards, published in May, are judged by global foreign direct investment experts, site consultants and Site Selection’s editors. They rank all national and regional inward investment agencies across the world. The national winners for Europe were Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Macedonia.

Business Birmingham – which is operated by Marketing Birmingham – was recognised for its quality of service, depth of available information and research, and knowledgeable staff. The city was also recognised for its innovative economic zones, investment into infrastructure, job creation from foreign investment and large pool of graduate talent.

Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director at Business Birmingham (pictured on front page), commented: “The hard work and commitment of our team, our partners and the business community across the region, have enabled Business Birmingham to secure and retain major companies from across the world.

“Birmingham and its surrounding areas are on the cusp of an exciting period of transformation, with major projects such as HS2 set to help attract more people and investment than ever before. It is crucial for us to capitalise on the work already underway across the region – to entice more businesses here, build on our strong results for inward investment, and help to create more jobs in the local area.”

The news follows record levels of FDI into the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP area, with a number of major international firms locating or expanding in the region. Indian-owned automotive giant Jaguar Land Rover has spent over £400 million upgrading its plant in Castle Bromwich to support the manufacture of its Jaguar XF, while the new Jaguar F-Pace will create 1,300 jobs at Solihull’s Lode Lane plant. US manufacturer HydraForce is building a new factory at Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub, creating over 200 jobs. Meanwhile, German energy firm extraenergy has located its UK headquarters in Birmingham and aims to employ 1,000 people in the city.

The GBSLEP area attracted 77 projects in 2013/14 – a rise of 57% on the previous year, and more than any other English region. The investments created over 4,800 jobs, a 98% increase on 2012/13.

“The Best to Invest Top Agencies Awards serve three purposes,” said Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection magazine.

“First, they recognise the commitment to excellence the leadership and staff at these agencies have exhibited to date. Second, they are a reminder to these agencies of the importance of maintaining and building on their professionalism and excellence in the future – to not relax their standards. And third, they signal to potential investors that their experience learning about a region and its capital investment potential via these agencies’ staff and online resources will result in a highly favourable outcome, even if a decision to invest capital does not result. My colleagues on the panel and I salute these agencies’ success today and in the future.”