“Birmingham was once a world leader due to our innovations in manufacturing, and the city is finally experiencing a renaissance. Our ambition is to be one of the biggest, most successful cities in the world once more.”
Andy Street opened the Annual Birmingham Business School Advisory Board Guest Lecture setting out an impressive ambition for the city region. Andy Street CBE is Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, for which he draws on his credentials as Managing Director of the UK’s most highly regarded retail chain John Lewis. He follows in the footsteps of Lord Michael Heseltine who used last year’s Lecture to map out the path to devolution for Birmingham. Andy’s talk on Regional renaissance, origins, opportunities and lessons provided our students and guests with a provocative and evidenced approach to the future of the city region.
Andy highlighted that as a city we have been vulnerable in the past; half our workforce worked in manufacturing and our regional economy took a large hit due to underperformance and a downturn in this sector. The civic response generated some great innovations such as Brindley Place and the Bullring, which attracted finance, business and major retail to the area. The region is now seeing an increase in jobs at a pace faster than any other Local Enterprise Partnership in the UK, with 82,500 new private sector jobs coming through. We have more start-ups than anywhere else outside London, and we still have major strengths in advanced manufacturing, which is now a high value sector once more, with the potential to generate real growth and niche skills-sets for Birmingham.
Listen to Andy Street's guest lecture
Going forward, Andy explained that we are now working towards one economic strategy, with the public and private sector coming together to deliver the Big City Plan – a major Enterprise Zone made up of twenty six major new developments across five areas of the city that will provide space, facilities and the benefits associated with being located close to like-minded companies, to grow Birmingham’s key sectors: professional and financial services, digital media, ICT and creative industries. Furthermore, the business rate uplift generated will be used to invest in infrastructure in the wider region outside of the city.
The talk was opened by the Vice Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood and closed by Lord Digby Jones, Chairman of the Business School Advisory Board, both of whom took the opportunity to outline Birmingham Business School’s role in the city plan, in terms of producing the talent needed to meet the increased skills requirement, and our City-Region Economic Development Institute (City REDI) which is developing the evidence base to support policies for economic growth.
The Advisory Board Guest Lecture is a major annual event in the School’s calendar and always draws a packed audience of our students, alumni and a large number of businesses from the region.
This year’s talk was attended by numerous influential people in the city including the Director of BBC Birmingham, the Executive Director of Jaguar Land Rover and the Chair of the Birmingham Creative Partnership, Town Hall and Symphony Hall.
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