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
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
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
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
Chinese lighting company switches on to £15m investment in Birmingham
China’s largest lighting manufacturer, NVC Lighting Technology, has invested over £15m in setting up a UK production and distribution base in Birmingham. It now employs more than 100 people in the city.
NVC’s UK arm supplies a variety of lighting products to wholesalers in the UK and Ireland. The company has been in the UK for over a decade, starting with a small sales office in Elstree, North London. But when it was looking to invest in a full blown production, research and development, and distribution facility in 2009, the business benefits of Birmingham made a powerful case for investment.
James Hunter Johnston, product and marketing manager at NVC Lighting, said:
“It was very hard to find the right space at the right price anywhere near our base in North London. In contrast, Birmingham offered a number of sites that were ideal for us in terms of size, location and cost.”
It wasn’t just the commercial property figures that added up for NVC Lighting. Hunter Johnston explained that with the company’s customer base spread all over the UK, a central location made logistical sense, too:
“Birmingham is a great location for us in terms of transport links, as it is just off the M42 and the M5. We can get our products to customers in most parts of the country in just a couple of hours or so.”
Such was the success of the Birmingham facility that, by 2012, NVC decided to further expand its operations in the city. It acquired an adjacent site and constructed new purpose-built premises. The new building has more than doubled the size of NVC Lighting’s UK operation and allowed the company to expand its capabilities as part of its phase two development plan. In total, NVC Lighting now has around 92,000 sq. ft spread across two buildings on its UK site.
As the company has continued to grow – achieving turnover of around £25 million – recruitment has been a priority. From an initial staff of seven, the company now employs around 110 people in the UK. And here, too, Birmingham has come up trumps, says Hunter Johnston:
“There are quite a few other lighting companies in the area, together with a cluster of companies that serve the lighting technology industry. It means there is a pool of experienced labour we can draw on, at both shop floor and management levels, and a network of lighting-related companies that we regularly deal with.”
The strength of its industrial and manufacturing base – which has a vast supply chain of SMEs to work with – is another factor that sets Birmingham apart for international businesses looking to invest in the UK, believes Hunter Johnston. While in the past some regions may have offered short-term financial incentives to attract investors, he says Birmingham’s success is based on solid commercial reasons.
NVC Lighting also received recruitment advice and PR support from Business Birmingham, the city region’s inward investment programme – which is backed by the European Regional Development Fund – to help it grow further.
Hunter Johnston concluded:
“Birmingham makes good, long-term business sense for us. It’s good for our business, good for our people and good for our customers. It’s as simple as that.”
Client profile: adi Group, a specialist mechanical and electrical contractor, started in Birmingham from scratch in 1990 with one employee searching for business. Since then the firm has grown annual revenues to £50 million and employs 350 workers – a success it puts down to its Birmingham location.
Sector: Advanced engineering
Number of employees: 350
HQ: Kings Norton
Business Birmingham services:
James Sopwith, Managing Director of a number of companies at adi Group, explained how this success was largely due to its prime location in the heart of the United Kingdom.
Client profile: Jaguar Land Rover is a British multinational automotive company headquartered in Whitley, Coventry and with locations in Gaydon, Castle Bromwich and Solihull. It comprises two brands – Jaguar and Land Rover – which were once separate companies but joined together under the ownership of Ford in 2000, before being bought by Indian automotive giant Tata in 2008.
Number of employees: 22,000
Business Birmingham / Invest Black Country / Solihull for Success services:
Business Birmingham and Invest Black Country supported Jaguar Land Rover with its expansion through support for its £67m RGF1 bid for engine plant development as well as a follow on £25m RGF2 supply chain bid. The team also provided:
Mike Wright, Executive Director at Jaguar Land Rover, speaks below: