Our city and region is ready for you and your business. Explore this snapshot to find out why.
We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.
Easy access to 400 million people across Europe
90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time
High Speed 2 rail – London in less than 45 minutes
50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide
Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).
With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe
Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice
Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites
Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.
Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.
Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London
More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile
Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.
4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city
Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city
A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here
Nearly 1 million people speak a second language
Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020
Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs
Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international
Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)
Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually
Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population
Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.
60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region
More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh
23,700 people in architecture and engineering
500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region
We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.
£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015
£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham
A £600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway
A comprehensive suite of products to speed up the process of setting up your business in Birmingham.
Local labour pool analysis, bespoke recruitment & apprenticeship solutions
Property and incubator space – short-term accommodation and support for future plans
Business services including legal advice, project management and other professional services for business establishment
Profile-raising opportunities such as PR announcements, sales and marketing workshops, networking events and social media collaboration
Strong themes connect our proud industrial history with our broad sector strengths – and they are enterprise and innovation. From the industrial revolution to modern day cutting edge Life Sciences research our region has played a fundamental role in building growth and value.
Central to our regional strategy we are developing clusters of high-growth sectors:
Birmingham is seeking to become one of the world’s leading green cities.
Already a leader in renewable energy - from low carbon fuels to waste management and bio-energy to solar photovoltaic - the city is paving the way as a sustainable, future-proof city. An integrated city transport system is taking shape and our universities produce world-class research, including bio-energy, hydrogen materials and future power systems.
Arup is the world leading independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services.
Founded in 1946 with an initial focus on structural engineering, Arup first came to the world’s attention with the structural design of the Sydney Opera House, followed by its work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris and also the Birmingham M6 Toll Road.
Arup’s campus in Solihull established in 2001 is home to 500 employees. Their campus is the result of Arup’s commitment to, and investment in, the West Midlands region since 1968.
On site Arup have brought together a wide range of disciplines, encouraging employees to look beyond their own specialism to achieve their clients’ objectives. This unconventional approach to design originates, in part, from their own structure – the firm is owned in trust on behalf of its staff. The result is an independence of spirit that is reflected in their work, in their dedicated pursuit of technical excellence, and the lasting value they create for their clients. With over 50 nationalities the office is able to address the present and future challenges of clients from the markets of social infrastructure, industry and resources, property and transport.
Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham Limited is a project company, set up in 1993 to manage the domestic waste arising from the city of Birmingham.
The company has a 25-year integrated waste management contract with Birmingham City Council, to operate as its strategic partner to deal with waste arisings, maximise recycling and produce Energy Recovery. In 1996 Veolia ES Birmingham built a stateof- the-art Energy Recovery Facility in Tyseley, East Birmingham, taking 350,000 tonnes of rubbish each year and converting it into electricity. This energy production is enough to power 41,000 local homes.
Veolia chose Birmingham as a key location because of its Universities commitment to world-class research in areas such as bio-energy and future power systems. Tyseley itself has been designated an Environmental Enterprise District, promoting innovative environmental approaches, and the company’s facility here fosters new technologies and academic partnerships. Veolia also assists Birmingham City Council in continuing to be one of the top-performing local authorities in terms of landfill avoidance and is targeting 40% recycling by 2026.
The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, industry and engineering generates over £12 billion for our region’s economy. Already strong in the Automotive and Aerospace sectors we are rapidly building a profile in the Low Carbon and renewables sector.
Already a powerful employer, it’s predicted that the sector will create an additional 4,700 jobs by 2016. With a young, diverse workforce and university courses steered towards mechanical engineering, this region’s a one-stop shop for automotive solutions.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER
Jaguar Land Rover is the largest manufacturer of premium vehicles in the UK and employs over 25,000 people in the UK and 1,000 more globally.
It supports 190,000 people through the supply chain, dealer network and wider economy. Jaguar Land Rover sells vehicles in almost 180 markets globally with 80% of production exported from the UK. The company has embarked on its most ambitious product creation programme ever, supported by £2.75 billion investment in product and facilities.
Jaguar Land Rover supports two advanced manufacturing plants in Birmingham: Solihull and Castle Bromwich. The company is investing £1.5 billion in all-new technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture in future models. This will create 1,700 new jobs at Solihull. Castle Bromwich boasts some of the most advanced aluminium body construction facilities in the world. Jaguar Land Rover has made a significant investment in the plant to prepare for the launch of the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe range in spring 2014.
SAIC Motor Corporation Limited is a Chinese owned automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Shanghai, with multinational operations. One of the ‘Big Four’ Chinese automakers, the company is currently rated 103rd in the Fortune 500 and, in 2013 had the largest production volume of any Chinese automaker producing more than 5.1 million units, the first Chinese automotive manufacturer to exceed five million units in a year.
Following the acquisition of the world-famous MG marque by SAIC in 2008, the UK division, SMTC UK relocated to Longbridge, Birmingham, after a multi-million pound investment in facilities and infrastructure at the site. A £5m newly expanded Design Centre was created and the studio, the fifth largest in Britain, carries out advanced design work for new models, including the new MG3.
The designers work closely with the 300 professional engineers at SAIC UK Technical Centre. More than 400 people are employed at the MG Birmingham site where the new MG3 is currently in production, along with its larger stable mate, the MG6. Modern MGs are designed, engineered and undergo final assembly at MG’s historic home in Longbridge, Birmingham.
There are around 300 specialist companies based in the Midlands contributing to global aerospace and providing over 40,000 jobs. It’s this kind of business environment which has fostered the highest levels of innovation here in our region.
Birmingham aspires to be a city at the forefront of renewable technologies. Already forging ahead of targets to reduce CO2 output by 60% by 2026, Birmingham’s well on track. Five of the key universities looking into emerging technologies for reducing carbon output are here in the West Midlands.
- Aston University Bioenergy Research Group - One of the largest university-based research groups in thermal biomass conversion in the world, and home to the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI).
- The University of Birmingham's Institute for Energy Policy and Research has significant capabilities in future power systems, hydrogen materials and supply chain research applied to clean hydrogen
- Birmingham City University – The University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE) is a national centre of excellence for learning, innovation and technology transfer
- Energy Technologies Institute – The University of Birmingham, together with other Midlands Universities, hosts and supports the Energy Technologies Institute as part of the Midlands Energy Consortium
Birmingham has the largest regional BPFS hub in the UK bringing £23bn (25% of GVA) into the region. The industry is at the core in our city region, with 30% of Birmingham’s firms in this sector and over 300 company headquarters located here. Overall, Birmingham has 15,000 BPFS companies.
Major players already here include:
Some key pointers:
Birmingham’s financial services sector is the second largest in the UK outside London. The sector has remained robust in our region and is expected to grow on average by 3.5% every year for the next five years.
Major players already here include:
Some key pointers:
- Investment, retail and specialist banking and finance
- A leading accountancy centre - 20,000 accountants across the region
- 70,000 working in banking and insurance
- HQ’s, major operations centres, and over 40 UK and international Shared Service Centres
Deutsche Bank AG is a German global banking and financial services company with its headquarters in Frankfurt. It has more than 100,000 employees in over 70 countries, and has a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the emerging markets. Deutsche Bank opened their first office in Birmingham in late 2006, initially with 30 employees. Since that first investment they have become the city’s largest foreign owned financial services company, employing over 1,000 staff in a range of roles in technology, support operations and increasingly front office functions. The company has chosen to further expand in Birmingham having benefited from the talent, quality of life and potential to fuel growth globally.
DTZ’s history dates back to 1784 when the founding predecessor firm, Cheshire Gibson was established in Birmingham. Since then, the company has become a global leader in property services, providing occupiers and investors around the world with industry leading, end-to-end property solutions. Serving many of the world’s greatest companies, DTZ’s 47,000 people across 208 offices in 52 countries offer seamlessly integrated operations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
In mid 2013 DTZ chose to establish a new Financial Control EMEA Centre of Excellence in Colmore Square. The depth of accountancy talent in Birmingham, coupled with multi-lingual capabilities enabled the company to consolidate operations from across the UK, Germany, France and Poland.
The insurance industry is thriving in the West Midlands. The Birmingham city region is one of only four areas outside London to employ more than 10,000 insurance professionals.
Major players already here include:
Some key pointers:
Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country’s legal sector is second only to London in size of employment.
Major players already here include:
Some key pointers:
Food and drink brands recognised the world over call the West Midlands home.
A long history of food and drink production has built a tried and tested infrastructure. Also, because of its unique geography, Birmingham has a first-class logistical network.
Established in the West Midlands in 1972, East End Foods Plc has grown into one of the UK’s leading Asian food specialists with an annual turnover in excess of £180 million.
With the surge of immigration in the 50’s and 60’s, the enterprising Wouhra brothers spotted a gap in the market with the growing demand and lack of availability for ethnic foods. They opened a small store in Wolverhampton in the Black Country stocking raw ingredients and dried goods. As demand grew, they moved to two further sites in the area, before moving to Birmingham in the 70’s, setting up in Highgate supplying independent retailers, family owned stores and a growing number of Indian restaurants.
After the closure of the old HP Sauce site in 2007 in Aston, Birmingham, East End Foods purchased it and built a new cash and carry facility. Today with the product range containing a massive 1,250 lines, East End Foods not only caters for Birmingham’s diverse ethnic population, but is now one of the largest importers of ethnic foods in the UK.
Cadbury, now part of Mondelez International, is one of the world’s most iconic brands, having been established almost 200 years ago in Birmingham.
Founded by John Cadbury, who opened a shop in Bull Street in 1824 selling tea, coffee and cocoa, the manufacturing business was subsequently born in 1831 when he began producing cocoa in a factory in nearby Crooked Lane. Having created the business, he passed it on to his sons George and Richard who, in 1879, created the model factory and village of Bournville four miles from the crowded city centre. The rest, as they say, is history.
Bournville continues to be a major manufacturing site, producing more than 300 million bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk each year as well as 350 million Creme Eggs. Cadbury houses its Global Centre of Excellence for chocolate at Bournville, as part of a £17 million investment in R&D in the UK. Mondelez International chose Bournville to take advantage of the wealth of talent and skills available; creating a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that includes new innovation laboratories, a test plant facility and a collaboration kitchen.
Birmingham and its surrounding region offer a wealth of talent, experience and upcoming future stars in the crucially important, fast growing broad digital sector.
The region provides exceptional technological infrastructure, a critical mass of skills and buzz and a steady supply flowing in to the talent pool for creative agencies, games companies and global technology giants.
Hotbeds of digital talent reside within our clusters at Fazeley Studios, the Custard Factory and the Jewellery Quarter. Installation of next-generation super-fast broadband has made Digbeth a real focus for creative and digital industries.
Virgin Media provides TV, fibre-optic broadband, home phone and mobile services to businesses and consumers in the UK, and was formed in March 2006 by the merger of NTL and Telewest by Richard Branson’s Virgin brand.
In early 2012 Virgin Media opened a 1,100 person strong regional HQ in East Birmingham. The operation hosts a customer experience centre of excellence and also provides marketing and business support functions as part of a major shared service centre. Creating a hub of opportunity in the region, the new site at Eagle Court is also home to Virgin Media’s Apprentice Training Centre. The centre runs an immensely popular programme giving apprentices the chance to get comprehensive training in digital home entertainment and telecommunications, whilst working towards a nationally recognised ICT qualification.
Business Birmingham worked closely with Virgin Media over a twelve month period to deliver this project. The team assisted in benchmarking, talent acquisition and the relocation of staff along with local recruitment partners.
ASOS is a global fashion destination for twentysomethings. Selling cutting edge ‘fast fashion’ and offering a wide variety of fashion-related content, the company’s website ASOS.com has become the hub of a thriving fashion community. It attracts 21.3 million unique visitors a month and has 13.2 million registered users. Retail sales are up 37% year on year, resulting in first half retail sales growth of 34% to £352 million.
ASOS chose Birmingham as its first location outside London in spring 2013, basing themselves in the Custard Factory, at the heart of Birmingham’s creative quarter. The company is one of the city’s most high profile investors and a symbol of a growing trend for e-commerce companies choosing the region to take advantage of one of the UK’s largest digital sector talent pools and a growing specialism in e-commerce across the city.
Birmingham is home to the BBC’s new digital innovation hub. A centre of excellence that will look to use cutting edge technology to tell stories differently and produce content in a whole new way. This is part of the BBC’s wider strategy to engage younger, more diverse audiences and a testament to Birmingham’s growing reputation for cutting edge digital work, its diverse talent pool, vibrant young audiences and strong arts scene. The offices will be situated in the Mailbox soon to become one of the UK’s most technologically advanced developments.
21% of the UK’s games workforce is based here. Building on the critical mass and contributing to its growth, Birmingham City University runs an industry leading Gamer Camp. Globally recognised leading companies call our region home:
SCC is an information technology solutions firm, servicing medium and largesized enterprises as well as public sector organisations.
Set up in Birmingham by Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman of parent group Rigby Group PLC, the company has grown from an initial investment of £2,000 to become the 13th largest privately owned business in the UK. Profitable since 1975, SCC now has over 5,000 international employees in seven European countries and supports five million users.
The company chose to grow its presence in the region because of the exceptional technological infrastructure, critical mass of skills and talent as well as the excellent road, rail and air links. SCC has helped numerous clients get more for less from their IT investment, yet this is just one of the supporting services the company provides. It also maintains a philanthropic attitude, collecting for local food banks and aiding in the manual clean up of Birmingham’s canals as well as supporting carbon offset projects in Africa.
Combining innovative research with readily available resources to put it to the test, Birmingham offers the Life Sciences sector everything it needs to grow.
Indeed, the regional sector is already growing rapidly with an almost 40% increase in Life Science businesses since 2005.
Investment and research put Birmingham at the cutting edge of global healthcare. Seven main hospitals and four private hospitals give the region a strong foundation in this sector.
Birmingham is the epicentre of clinical research for the UK due to its essential combination of varied demographics, expertise and a first class logistical network for access to markets.
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