The Speed to Scale Region Programme: transforming the West Midlands economy for long term, clean, sustainable growth

University of Birmingham

The Speed to Scale Region (SSR) Programme is a transformative bid for business support funding to Central Government, harnessing the innovation and industrial strength of the West Midlands region to develop, manufacture and deliver new products at scale and pace. The bid has the backing of many businesses across the region and enjoys strong support from our politicians:

Our region has long been a world leader in the industrialisation of new technology, and now more than ever, we must retool to face the economic challenges ahead. The Speed to Scale Region Programme will bring together our best innovators from business, technical institutes and universities on a grand scale. I am delighted to support the programme as part of our vision for the West Midlands.” Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Delivery engines

The organisations leading on the SSR Programme are founded on social purpose and share a strong Midlands industrial heritage. As two of the UK’s most respected universities, the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, and the two largest High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, the MTC and WMG (University of Warwick), it is in our DNA to make a difference. At times of change the bold seek opportunities. It is time for the West Midlands to be bold. The Industrial Revolution built the Midlands on technology advancement and an insatiable desire for goods. Today we face the same type of opportunity. The West Midlands has the technology advantage and the manufacturing base on which to build, and the world has an urgent need and appetite for clean growth and medical products.

Programme overview

A proposed £460 million investment over the next four years in SSR will deliver a GVA impact of £2.4 billion and 22,000 jobs. The West Midlands benefits from a significant multiplier effect for state-provided R&D funding. Historically, for every pound government spends, businesses in the region spend £5.07. Investment would help to level up the region, while delivering an unrivalled return on investment for the UK.

The Hubs within the Speed to Scale Programme, net zero carbon heat, medical technologies, transport and connectivity, alongside the Pre-Hubs, all represent sectors where the West Midlands has market leading capabilities, or the capacity to do so. Sectors with strong business footprints and formidable regional innovation assets in the SSR delivery organisations: the MTC, WMG (University of Warwick), the University of Birmingham, and the University of Warwick.

Catapult partners will support and accelerate the product development and volume production with all elements of the programme embedded into an ecosystem which helps business transition into these new sectors and fully optimises the SME base and supply chains.

The programme will work with and invest in businesses, from SMEs to OEMs, across the entire investment lifecycle to grow the Hub sectors, linking in the expertise of the four partners to drive invention and adoption and accelerate product development and volume production. We will create flexibility so that the West Midlands economy can also rapidly respond to new opportunities from emerging sectors.


Central to the SSR programme, the Hubs will engage directly with businesses, supply chains, industry interest bodies, chambers of commerce and other key sector organisations. It is the hubs that will build the new markets and sectors within the region. Empowering business is at the heart of the programme. 


SSR programme systems support will reach out to thousands of regional businesses in new ways, creating pathways for pivots and new markets through fore-sighting, establishing an innovation pipeline for future products and securing inward investment. Resource allocation and strategic decisions will be informed by a SSR world-leading integrated programme, Business Futures, focusing on business data and economics analytics and assessment.


A Productivity Booster programme will support SMEs to increase productivity and resilience and facilitate pivots into Hub sectors and new opportunities.


Our pipeline programme develops future markets and creates the underpinning capability and community belief that the West Midlands can pivot and grow with Pre-hubs defined in areas such as Quantum Technology, Food Innovation, Circular Economy and AI and Robotics.

Our programme allows an integrated, whole systems approach: matching underutilised capacity with untapped markets and supported all the way by the innovation and business transformation expertise across the whole of the West Midlands.

Get involved

While the ambition is large, no less than reinventing the West Midlands economy, it is achievable with the combined capabilities of the Speed to Scale Partnership and the wider set of business innovation partners, ensuring that the technology sectors of the future are anchored in the region.

In further posts, published here over the next few days, we will provide further details of each of the innovation Hubs and how businesses in those sectors can get involved, along with a focus on the skills and training that the SSR Programme can provide.

“This partnership approach that links the support, drive and ambition of the business community to the West Midlands Mayor’s wider strategic vision and activities is unique in the UK. In the immediate term, this programme will aid the economic recovery while also ensuring longer term clean, inclusive and sustainable growth." Saqib Bhatti MP for Meriden

This programme, if funded by government, has the potential to reinvent the West Midlands as the scale-up region of the UK.  Please contact us by email at