The Midlands Engine For Growth – it sounds great, but what does it actually mean to businesses across our region? Much has been written on the subject, but is it is it getting through? Here we look at what this ‘Engine’ is and why it matters.
What is the Midlands Engine For Growth?
The Midlands Engine is the inward investment name for a region of more than 11 million people – from Herefordshire to Leicestershire, Staffordshire to Northampton and everything in between – worth £222 billion to the UK economy and boasting some of the most diverse range of industries in the country. A region seen as full of unlocked potential, it is the result of 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) coming together to jointly boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer. Unveiled in late 2015, it will focus on the promotion of five key themes – skills, innovation, transport, promoting the region, and finance for business. If the Midlands region matches the predicted growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, there is the potential to create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34 billion.
And while there may be those who are cynical towards the initiative that has been launched with some fanfare, there are some undeniable business benefits to be gained by getting on board with the Midlands Engine.
Here are three key reasons why we believe the Midlands Engine should be important to all businesses in the region…
- It’s a counterbalance to the north/south agenda
London and the South East drain people and projects from the rest of the country while pushing up property prices, or so we’re told time and again. With the Northern Powerhouse arguably being given more than its fair share of attention, the Midlands Engine brand provides a counterbalance to this north/south skew. We are on the world’s doorstep and there is no more connected region in the UK than ours. This enables both large-scale multinational companies to chose the Midlands Engine as their home, knowing they are within hours of all major markets, as well as start-ups whose export potential can be realised quickly and effectively.The word ‘engine’ is very apt – it is the heart of both the country for transport networks and indeed the birthplace of automotive manufacturing. The Midlands Engine has the potential to be the driver of economic success across the country.There is deep political change coming to all regions of the UK and the closer businesses and local authorities can work together, the stronger our bargaining power and inward investment offer will be
- It’s easier for overseas investors to understand the possibilities
Sovereign wealth funds and large international companies looking to set up or relocate to the UK may not fully understand the scale of connectivity that the East and West Midlands offers. Packaging this region up as a hotbed of talent and entrepreneurship with a deeply talented, skilled workforce in a business friendly environment makes it easy for overseas investors to see the possibilities more clearly.It means those looking to plan major investment into the UK can view the Midlands region – which already has a £222 billion economic value – and all it has to offer as one entity, with thousands of possibilities
- A platform to showcase a breadth of industries
The sheer breadth of industries that the Midlands Engine region contains is like no other in the UK – from advanced engineering to food and drink, professional services to IT – their are global players that have their roots in our region. The Midlands Engine boasts a strength and depth of sectors as diverse as the people that work in them, so a single platform that allows the region to showcase all its sides should be welcomed.
There will always be cynics when government initiatives such as the Midlands Engine are launched. But whatever the motivation – be it political, economic or both – it nonetheless presents a platform to show what this region is made of. Birmingham is fast becoming known as a global city – and if the Midlands Engine is an opportunity to shine to world’s spotlight a little further east too then that should be grabbed with both hands by businesses. The more companies that invest in the region, the stronger our spirit of talent and enterprise grows.
People power, public sector ambition and private sector confidence are uniting to create an unrivalled economic success story, attracting and keeping multinational companies, the most exciting entrepreneurs and the cream of the graduate crop here. It is the ignition to firing up this region’s economic success story.