It’s time for a fundamental reset in our understanding of what the region's businesses need to fulfil their growth potential.
The Business Commission West Midlands will provide a roadmap for unlocking business growth across the region. Delivered by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Insight & Intelligence Unit, in partnership with the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce, the commission will undertake detailed conversations and quantitative research with hundreds of businesses across the region. The findings from the Commission will be utilised to directly influence local, regional and national stakeholders.
The West Midlands is an excellent place to start, grow or invest in a business. The West Midlands saw the country’s highest year on year growth in FDI projects between 2022-23 and 2021-22. The region is home to 12 higher education institutions, educating over 150,000 students and producing over 50,000 graduates each year. It is one of the best-connected places in the country by road, rail and air and set to become even more so with the advent of HS2.
However, fundamental issues remain which continue to impact our long-term growth. Regional GVA fell by 4.9% in 2020 and subsequent recovery has been slower than other UK regions. The region's unemployment rate (5.0%) remains the highest of any region in England. Business growth (in terms of scale up capacity) lags behind other regions. In 2021, the West Midlands region reported the highest business death rate (13.0%) in the UK. Businesses in the West Midlands have a five-year survival rate of 34.6% - compared to the UK average of 38.4% in 2021.
We are in a period of great change as the region’s business community navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, digital industrial revolution and transition to net zero against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty. Nationally and regionally our public sector institutions and leaders are also evolving as an enhanced devolution deal is set to come into force in Autumn 2023 and local elections, a WMCA Mayoral Election and General Election are all expected in 2024.
In this context, we believe that the time has come for a fundamental reset in our understanding of what local businesses need to fulfil their growth potential. There is a need, and opportunity to, present a clear voice to local, regional and national government, drive action and meaningfully shift the dial on the region’s business survival and growth outcomes, and with it, economic growth potential.
The Business Commission West Midlands will provide a roadmap for unlocking business growth across the region.
An apolitical body, the Commission is comprised of leaders in enterprise, supported by an expert advisory panel. It will forensically examine the opportunities on the horizon for the region’s business community and the change or action needed to fully seize them.
Led by an independent Chair and panel of private-sector Commissioners drawn from a range of industries, at heart, the Business Commission West Midlands (BCWM) is a mass engagement and research exercise, giving a meaningful voice to the local business community. Delivered by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Insight & Intelligence Unit, in partnership with the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce, the commission will undertake detailed conversations and quantitative research with hundreds of businesses across the region.
The findings from the Commission will be utilised directly influence local, regional and national stakeholders. It will become the basis of the lobbying messages for the coming years, our bedrock for championing positive change to drive commercial opportunities for local businesses. After formal launch, we will revisit the findings of the Commission one year on to review impact and outcomes.
It will focus on the West Midlands Combined Authority area, broadly mirroring the three Local Enterprise Partnership geography.
The Business Commission West Midlands will deliver the following:
- October-November 2023: Evidence hearing sessions with leading businesses from across the West Midlands, supported by written submissions.
- January 2024: Interim Report summarising emerging themes and observations arising from the evidence
- January-February 2024: Additional quantitative and qualitative research
- March 2024: Final report, providing a roadmap for business growth through observations and recommendations for policy change or prioritisation
Alongside a programme of stakeholder engagement. Success will be measured through media coverage, stakeholder meetings and, critically, recommendations adopted. The impact of the Commission will be formally reviewed one year on from launch of the final report.
To submit evidence to the Business Commission West Midlands please complete this form. You will be asked to share:
- Company Name
- Company sector
- Company postcode
- Number of Employees
- Company Turnover for the last financial year
- A short summary of your organisation’s growth aspirations and areas you identify as primary opportunities for growth
- A short summary of what changes to the regional or national environment you believe would better facilitate your growth ambitions and any supporting evidence
- The strengths or assets you see in the region that support business growth and any supporting evidence
- Contact email
By submitting your evidence, you accept that your organisation’s name will be included in the appendices to the report outlining the organisations that contributed to the Commission. This will be a generic reference to your organisation name only, we will not attribute any points or comments made to your organisation without your express permission.
REGION FOR FDI GROWTH 2022/23
UNIVERSITY GRADUATES EACH YEAR
OF UK CONSUMERS WITHIN 4 HOURS TRAVEL TIME
FALL IN GVA 2020 & SLOW RECOVERY
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, HIGHEST IN ENGLAND
BUSINESS DEATH & LOW SCALE UP RATE COMPARED TO UK
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To find out more about the Business Commission West Midlands or how your organisation can get involved, please complete the form below: