Greater Birmingham showcases global credentials

Region’s business leaders highlight plans for strengthening Greater Birmingham‘s global standing.

Business leaders from across the region gathered to reflect on Greater Birmingham’s standing as a global destination, as part of Marketing Birmingham’s latest Partners Event held at Edgbaston Stadium.

The event saw more than 100 representatives from across a number of industries, the public and private sectors come together to share insights on how the city can further develop into a leading, global centre for both future investors and visitors.

Also welcomed to the event were representatives from the Department of International Trade’s Capital Investment team, who attended the event as part of a wider Greater Birmingham familiarisation visit. Led by Marketing Birmingham, DIT members toured key development sites including Birmingham Smithfield, Paradise and Birmingham Curzon with the aim of collating key information for potential investors. Officers represented priority international markets including China, Hong Kong, the UAE and India.

The event’s keynote address was delivered by Birmingham City Council Strategic Director for Economy, Waheed Nazir. Outlining the city’s strategic priorities to accelerate future economic growth, Nazir commented: “Birmingham is already demonstrating the growth journey of a global city. We are using £275 million of funds from Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone to transform our infrastructure and public realm, making the city an attractive destination for global firms like HSBC.

“There are major schemes in the pipeline such as the Curzon HS2 Masterplan, a £1 billion project to maximise the return on the city centre HS2 terminus, and Birmingham Smithfield, a £500 million scheme which will create a brand new sustainable and family orientated place at the heart of the city centre. Connectivity is crucial, and following phase one of the £128 million Metro extension, we will be extending the line to the city’s Digbeth quarter and Five Ways area, with construction anticipated to start in 2019.

“Confidence in the city is high and the delivery of robust infrastructure, quality office space and employment opportunities will continue to make Birmingham an attractive place to invest.”

Marketing Birmingham’s Chief Executive Neil Rami chaired a discussion, during which the West Midlands mayoral contest and connectivity were debated by panellists Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport; Neil Snowball, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Cricket Club; Jan Teo, Chief Executive of Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham City Council’s Waheed Nazir.

Commenting on the role of arts and culture in the growth and development of Greater Birmingham’s economy, Jan Teo said: “Birmingham needs to respond to a globally competitive environment. We need to be moving the benchmark up and wider in order to be a global city. The region presents a cost-efficient alternative to London, has a highly talented workforce, renowned educational establishments, and a world-class cultural offer. Birmingham’s competition is not on a national level, it’s the likes of Barcelona, Chicago and Hong Kong – businesses and arts organisations across the city have the capability and the core values to transform our future.”

Neil Snowball added: “The perception of Birmingham has drastically changed in recent years. A city once hailed for its industrial imprint is now a leisure and entertainment hotspot, gripping audiences across the world with global sporting events. With five games of the ICC Champions Trophy here at Edgbaston Stadium next summer, plus Cricket World Cup fixtures in 2019, Birmingham is a key player on the international sporting map.

“Today, we are proudly displaying the Royal London Cup to event guests, following Warwickshire’s fantastic one-day victory over Surrey this month.”