Exhibition boost for Greater Birmingham

Birmingham city centre Enterprise Zone launches relocation service to cope with unprecedented demand.

Greater Birmingham is unveiling a new relocation service at international property show MIPIM this week, in response to growing demand from people and businesses moving to the city.

Tailored to firms moving to Birmingham’s city centre Enterprise Zone, the service is operated by inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham and supported by Birmingham City Council. The service is the first of its kind to be offered by an Enterprise Zone in the UK.

A team of city experts will provide staff with advice on areas ranging from property to local schools, healthcare provision, transport networks and leisure destinations. A website, bespoke city tours and lifestyle magazine are also available.

City leaders believe that, by providing for a seamless transition for talented workers moving to Greater Birmingham, it will gain an edge in the increasingly competitive race for regional investment. The service is already being used by global bank HSBC, which is locating the head office of its new ring-fenced bank in the city – moving 1,000 roles to Birmingham from London.

John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is the first time an Enterprise Zone has launched a dedicated relocation service, and we’re already seeing its success through HSBC’s use of the scheme. For businesses looking to locate or expand in the UK, this professional service will place Greater Birmingham ahead of other regions. It further underlines our competitive edge as an investment destination, by showcasing what we can offer new residents as well as their employers.”

Demand is being driven by Greater Birmingham’s appealing offer to businesses and their employees. Greater Birmingham will become the only UK area with two HS2 train stations – while its air, road and rail connections already provide access to 400 million people across Europe.

Birmingham was recently named as having the greatest investment potential in the UK, and sixth in Europe, by PwC and the Urban Land Institute. Office construction in the city is at the highest level for 13 years, according to the Deloitte Birmingham Crane Survey, with 969,000 sq ft of space being built.

For staff, Birmingham has the highest quality of life of any English city outside of London, according to global consultancy Mercer. It is also the most popular destination outside the South East for thirtysomethings relocating out of London, with nearly 5,500 people moving to the city in 2013. The Greater Birmingham LEP area attracted 61.2 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 1.2 million visitors compared with 2014.

Andy Street, chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, commented: “This new service for companies moving to Birmingham’s EZ is a significant addition to what we already offer new investors, and will help to attract even more global names here. This should also have a positive impact on attracting investment across the wider Greater Birmingham area by stimulating supply chains and customer networks that other local firms can tap into.

“Birmingham city centre’s Enterprise Zone is already helping to trigger several major developments – including Paradise and Arena Central – that are offering high-quality space for firms moving here, such as HSBC. By providing this relocation service, we are now also helping these firms to retain and attract the best staff from across the country.”

More companies are locating to Greater Birmingham than any other LEP area in the UK. It attracted 73 foreign direct investments alone in 2014/15, according to UK Trade & Investment, 9% more than the next highest LEP. This created and safeguarded 6,104 jobs. Birmingham was responsible for two-thirds (66%) of all projects with a record high of 48.

Across the LEP area, 45% of investments were in the business, professional and financial services, IT and digital sectors – the main target sectors for Birmingham city centre’s EZ.

Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, added: “It has been critical to Greater Birmingham’s success that we target inward investment from sectors that will deliver the greatest economic value and employment opportunities – such as BPFS, IT and digital media. These industries, as part of the knowledge economy, all rely on employing talented staff that are part of the local workforce. Our new relocation service is therefore vital in attracting and retaining both foreign and domestic investors in Birmingham city centre’s Enterprise Zone.”

The relocation services website can be found at www.relocatetobirmingham.co.uk. It will be launched on the Greater Birmingham stand at MIPIM on Thursday 17th March. The event, Driving commercial development through inward investment, is taking place on stand R7.B12 from 9.15am.