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Goodbye Marketing Birmingham, hello WM Growth Company

Goodbye Marketing Birmingham, hello WM Growth Company

🕔28.Apr 2017

Marketing Birmingham has metamorphosed into the West Midlands Growth Company, just days ahead of the election of the region’s first Mayor. 

The new body is tasked with attracting investment, jobs, visitors and businesses to the West Midlands.

It is widely accepted that the Mayor will see acting as chief ambassador and storyteller for the region as their primary role, so they will have a particular interest in the performance of the new company.

The creation of the West Midlands Growth Company was formally agreed on Wednesday evening at a Marketing Birmingham General Meeting in Birmingham.

Birmingham’s strategic marketing partnership will now transition to a new organisation, with a broader remit and new Board being established.

Formed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and aligned to the ambitions set out in the current WMCA Strategic Economic Plan, the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) aims to raise the profile of the region in national and global markets, making it more distinctive and attractive to investors.

The West Midlands Growth Company will work in partnership with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), local authorities, Growth Hubs, universities and the private sector. Is is understood that the constituent members of the WMCA (the seven Met councils) and universities will be the main funders of the re-structured body as it commences its work.

The WMGC will be charged with delivering a pipeline of major inward investment propositions, developing a more focused and seamless business support programme and marketing the West Midlands’ visitor economy assets for business and leisure tourists.

Paul Kehoe, chairman of the West Midlands Growth Company, said:

Marketing Birmingham’s journey began on 26th April 1982. It is therefore fitting that exactly 35 years to the day that the company was formed, we and the WMCA are taking this significant step to create a new entity, showcasing the economic opportunities available across the whole of the West Midlands.

By working across a unified region, the Growth Company will be able to tell a much stronger story internationally and use this collaboration to its advantage in securing more investment and visits into the West Midlands.

In recent years, Marketing Birmingham has worked closely with partners across the public and private sectors to secure a record-high number of foreign direct investment projects, the largest growth in international visitors of any UK city outside London and the relocation of HSBC UK from the capital to Birmingham. The decision to create the new West Midlands Growth Company will build on Marketing Birmingham’s expertise for the benefit of the whole region.

As the Growth Company starts work and the Mayor assumes office, they will have to return to the thorny question of how the region is promoted, including where the ‘Greater Birmingham’ and ‘Midlands Engine’ brands will be applied nationally and internationally.

Earlier work on city region positioning, commissioned by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, has stalled with the ‘Make Your Mark’ brand concept not achieving a wider acceptance to date.

Martin Reeves, interim Chief Executive of the WMCA, said:

The Growth Company will help the Combined Authority put the West Midlands on the international map like never before.

We’ll be working with the public and private sectors – with the likes of our universities at the coalface – to create new jobs; expand existing businesses and attract new investment to the region.

Creating the West Midlands Growth Company is a huge step towards delivering our aspirations for the region and how we will make the most of devolution, demonstrating that a stronger West Midlands is not just good for local people and businesses, but the whole of the UK.

The Growth Company says that the Marketing Birmingham Partnership Programme, Business Birmingham, Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham will continue to be promoted. However, with the former Marketing Birmingham organisation now serving the entire region, just how Birmingham manages its reputation as a city may come under the microscope once again.

pic: West Midlands Growth Company Chief Executive Neil Rami

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