Home to world-class companies, major R&D facilities, innovative entrepreneurs, renowned universities and one of the youngest populations in Europe, Greater Birmingham is a dynamic, thriving, and business-focused region. Well connected and centrally located in the UK, the region provides the scale and size to service the largest business functions, coupled with a highly skilled talent pool.
Greater Birmingham has an excellent track record with companies and investors from the USA, which is a key source of inward investment into the region. The UK’s second city is going through an unprecedented period of transformation, and has been bucking national growth and development trends at a time when other areas are experiencing challenges.
With record levels of infrastructure investment, increasing international recognition and countless opportunities for companies to thrive in the region, there has never been a better time to invest in Greater Birmingham.
A CITY TRANSFORMED
The region was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and continues to be an engine room of the UK economy. Excitingly, the region has one of the most ambitious plans for growth and investment in the UK and a vision that will transform the area for generations to come.
More than ever, investors are increasingly considering alternatives to capital cities and are attracted to regions such as Greater Birmingham. Excellent links and connectivity aside, it is the combination of a high quality energized workforce and cost efficiencies that has helped major players like Jaguar Land Rover, Deutsche Bank, GKN, UTC Aerospace, Mondelez International, and JCB grow in Greater Birmingham. The region’s natural advantages – its central position and access to a substantial labor force – make it a location of choice for business, be it local, national or international.
A NEW REVOLUTION
Greater Birmingham is synonymous with world-leading manufacturing, but is currently experiencing a new revolution. With significant established centers of excellence in areas such as HR, law and financial services, the impetus in our niche sectors, including e-commerce and social media, is also gaining the city national and international plaudits.
Developing clusters of high-growth sectors is part of the city’s strategy for economic growth. Within Birmingham’s city boundaries, six strategically important geographic areas have been identified as Economic Zones. The Birmingham economic zones include the City Centre Enterprise Zone, Advanced Manufacturing Hub, Life Sciences Campus, the Longbridge ITEC Zone and the Food Hub. Each economic zone, tailored to a specific sector, can offer businesses simplified planning, access to finance, gap funding, business development programs and tailored training and recruitment packages. Additionally the wider region benefits from numerous economic zones equally geared to help American businesses thrive.
REACHING FURTHER AFIELD
The world is coming closer to Greater Birmingham. National infrastructure projects include the $66.5 billion High Speed Rail (HS2) link to London, the $1 billion redevelopment of New Street station and Birmingham Airport’s $105 million runway extension.
The region is ideally placed for business with exceptional connections to local, national, and global networks. It is at the heart of the UK’s road and rail infrastructure and has its own international airport with direct flights to cities in Europe, North America, and Asia, handling almost 10 million passengers per year.
The runway extension at Birmingham Airport will bolster the region’s capacity and reach as a global gateway, increasing passenger numbers to 18 million. It will build on an existing portfolio of almost 150 direct connections to both established markets, such as North America and Europe, as well as growth markets including China, India, Dubai, and South America.
Additionally, Birmingham New Street rail station’s massive current redevelopment will see its annual passenger capacity of 52 million a year increase and transform the center of the nation’s rail network into a spectacular 21st century transport hub. This ‘Birmingham Gateway’ redevelopment will bring an estimated $330 million of private sector investment into Greater Birmingham, further increasing the region’s competitiveness.
The West Midlands has long been the UK’s automotive heartland, and Advanced Engineering generates over $20 billion for the region’s economy. With a rich automotive heritage together with extensive investment sites, a highly-skilled workforce and a strong precision engineering pedigree, the area is an ideal location for U.S. firms to operate, grow, and carry out high value Research and Development (R&D). Already leaders in the Automotive and Aerospace sectors, we are rapidly building a profile in the Low Carbon and Renewable Energy sector.
The region is also at the center of the automotive value chain with the highest concentration of Tier One and Two suppliers in the UK. Not only does this provide easy access to all aspects of the sector’s supply chain but also $2.5 billion worth of UK-based automotive R&D is also carried out here – accounting for more than 60 percent of the UK automotive industry’s R&D. Major global R&D organizations include MIRA and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). Mike Wright, Executive Director, Jaguar Land Rover commented:
“The heart of our business is in Birmingham and the wider region, a place that offers so much for potential investors in addition to companies looking to expand.”
BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL & FINANCIAL SERVICES
Greater Birmingham is a location of significant financial centers of excellence and is home to the largest regional Business, Professional & Financial Services (BPFS) hub in the UK, bringing $38 billion (25 percent of GVA) into the region. The industry is at the core of our region, with 30 percent of Birmingham’s firms in this sector and over 300 company headquarters located here. Overall, Greater Birmingham has over 21,000 BPFS companies and 220,000 BPFS employees.
Talking about their new Birmingham Campus, MD of Deutsche Bank Richard McCarthy said:
“Five Brindleyplace is an excellent building in an outstanding location on the estate and will be an inspirational place in which to work. Brindleyplace itself has a real sense of community and its connection to the main transport hubs enables us to both attract and retain the very best talent.”
The region is a powerhouse for the Life Sciences industry, combining extensive R&D facilities, strong collaboration between academia and business and one of Europe’s largest, most diverse and non-transient patient populations. Greater Birmingham is moving to the cutting edge of global healthcare at an extraordinary rate and offers the Life Sciences sector everything it needs to grow.
With over 100,000 people employed in the Life Sciences sector regionally, Greater Birmingham is one of the few centers internationally that can provide a bespoke multidisciplinary translational environment for development and delivery of clinical trials and device evaluation.
QUALITY OF LIFE
In terms of living costs, Birmingham has been ranked the best regional UK city for quality of life for the third year running by the global Mercer Living Index. The city center is home to over 1,000 shops within a one mile radius, ranging from high-end department stores to independent arcades, as well as the world-famous Jewellery Quarter, which produces 40 percent of the UK’s jewelry output. In addition new developments in the form of the ‘Birmingham Gateway’ and the groundbreaking Resort’s World complex are set to cement the city’s status as a shopping capital.
As well as a thriving food & drink industry, through major supply chain organizations such as East End Foods, the region is going through a gastronomic transformation. With no less than four Michelin starred restaurants plus a whole quarter of Birmingham city center devoted to its very own Asian specialty – the Balti – Greater Birmingham is a UK foodie haven and is fueled by a burgeoning street food scene with the finest food artisans concentrating on food and flavor in a variety of quirky locations.
Business Birmingham is one of the region’s inward investment programs, the link to establishing or growing a company’s presence in the region. We are the access point to Birmingham’s business networks and to the numerous benefits from the city’s strong enterprise culture. We strive to work with investing companies as a strategic partner to create relevant business solutions. Our Business Catalyst program helps many new businesses to set up and expand by reducing the associated risks and offers attractive incentives such as rent-free periods, free and discounted space, subsidized recruitment costs, PR support, legal, banking, and accountancy advice.
Business Birmingham alongside other regional inward investment programs, has been a key force in attracting inward investment into the region, both nationally and internationally. Building strong relationships with investors has been our priority and the results are plain to see: we have helped deliver over 7,000 new jobs in the past three years, driven more projects and initiatives than ever before as well as achieving record levels of capital investment into the region. These programs and incentives are built to aid U.S. investors with every aspect of their project including help with recruitment, property, professional services, and marketing.
For more information contact:
Kathryn Ellis, Business Birmingham U.S.