Key Sectors & Innovation
The LEP’s strategy to unlock specific sector strengths and opportunities has delivered some major successes in the past year, supported by 13 sector champions.
In advanced manufacturing, further education training facilities for aviation, automotive and engineering are being developed at Solihull, South & City Colleges and Redditch.
Drive West Midlands was launched in June 2015, with the dual aim of supporting inward investment into the area and developing the local supply chain. Since its launch, the creation of 265 jobs have been supported.
In digital technology, the iCentrum expansion of the Innovation Birmingham Campus has been completed and now houses the Serendip Smart City Incubator. The campus also co-locates promising start-up businesses with large existing commercial partners.
Cultural and creative industries have also enjoyed considerable success. The Creative City Partnership’s engagement with the BBC has seen the broadcaster locate its BBC Three base in Birmingham, alongside a hub for its proposed partnerships with local newspapers.
Additionally, the LEP secured £500,000 Arts Council funding and a Budget commitment of £14 million for Birmingham City University’s (BCU) STEAMHouse project, which will transform the former Typhoo Tea Factory, harnessing the power of the creative and cultural sector, to drive new forms of innovation and the creation of up to 10,000 jobs.
The Greater Birmingham Life Sciences Commission report was published in July 2015 and revealed the strength, breadth and potential of the region’s life science assets, including the Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM), supported by £12 million of funding secured through the LEP’s City Deal, and the Life Sciences Campus, which has beneitted from Local Growth Funding (LGF).
Future plans for the sector include the establishment of a Strategic Leadership Group to drive a commercially sound strategy that will attract global investment. The LEP and its business and professional services partner, BPS Birmingham Ltd, continue to work together to identify opportunities to realise the huge potential of the sector, which has seen recent investments in the city
centre by Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
Meanwhile, in the food and drink sector, work continues to develop the Growth Deal-funded Food Technology Skills Excellence Hub at University College Birmingham, while activity to develop the region’s visitor economy also continues.
At Innovation Birmingham, building has started on a purpose-designed Universities Centre with £2.5 million secured via the Growth Deal.
The Universities of Aston and Birmingham are partners in the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) partnership of six internationally-renowned, Midlandsbased universities, along with the British Geological Survey that has added £120 million of industry commitment to the £60 million of government funding previously secured.
Alongside other LEPs, local authorities, universities and industry partners, the GBSLEP has been successful in securing government support to undertake a Midlands Engine Science & Innovation Audit. This will map out local science and innovation strengths and identify emerging opportunities to inform future
Another focus for partner activity led by Birmingham Science City, has been supporting calls for the Research and Innovation strand of the new European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The First project approved is the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) BSEEN and Innovation Vouchers, led by Aston University.
The GBSLEP supported Venturefest West Midlands 2015, an event at the NEC. This attracted nearly 500 delegates, £1.44 million inancial returns and 1,410 new connections between innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors.