The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has announced further backing for two successful business support schemes.
The programmes aim to drive business growth across the region by promoting inclusivity and business mentoring. A further initiative, which aims to engage the next generation of business leaders, was also launched by GBSLEP Director Katie Trout at the GBSLEP Annual Conference (26 September).
A pilot scheme to support migrant-owned businesses with advice and peer mentoring, to build a more inclusive ecosystem in the region, has been extended after helping more than 200 companies. The 18-month programme was delivered in partnership with the Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), Citizens UK and NatWest. GBSLEP has allocated a further £39,000 to the programme, which can now support a further 60 companies.
Further business support has been offered by the Mentoring for Growth initiative, developed by Be the Business and piloted by GBSLEP – which matches SMEs with high-growth potential with senior decision makers. This will be rolled out nationally, following a highly successful trial in the region.
GBSLEP also unveiled its Future Economy initiative, which will launch next year. The scheme aims to engage the next generation of business leaders, by bringing together groups representing young professionals and providing them with an opportunity to input into the work being delivered by the LEP.
Tim Pile, Chair of GBSLEP, commented:
“GBSLEP is committed to unlocking growth across all parts of Greater Birmingham & Solihull – but our economy will only realise its full potential if our entrepreneurs and workforce reflect the region’s diversity and youth. By supporting companies with strong growth potential, and working with the mass of young talent based here, we can help to build a strong economy for the future.”
Attended by 300 private and public sector leaders from across the region, the Conference provided updates on the projects and schemes supported by GBSLEP, along with a look ahead to the next 12 months.
The event was opened by Tim Pile, who focused on the importance of enterprise and productivity in driving inclusive economic growth across Greater Birmingham and Solihull. The Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street, highlighted the economic performance of the wider region and the importance of its upcoming Local Industrial Strategy.
Writer Steven Knight, who created TV hit Peaky Blinders, used his keynote speech to emphasise how the local area should capitalise on the growth of the national television and film industry, and establish itself as a centre for the creative arts.
The event also included a lively panel debate, hosted by LEP Board Director Anita Bhalla, with experts from across a range of high-growth sectors. Key themes from the discussion included the importance of encouraging inclusivity and diversity; ensuring that SMEs can tap into local support networks; and the role of apprenticeships in boosting skills within the workforce.
GBSLEP also unveiled a new film about the region’s progress at the Conference. The film showcases the past year’s economic successes across Greater Birmingham and Solihull – including increases in local job creation and foreign direct investment. It also highlights key areas of focus for GBSLEP, from creating stronger conditions for growth to growing key sectors and technologies and strengthening global connections.
To read GBSLEP’s 2017/18 Annual Report in full, click here