Almost 300 delegates from public and private sector organisations and businesses in the Black Country joined the Black Country LEP for the Annual Conference at West Bromwich Albion Football Club this morning (2 March 2017).
Hosted by ITV Central’s Sameena Ali-Khan the Conference was opened by Black Country LEP Chair Stewart Towe who up-dated the gathering on the key highlights from the Black Country Economic Review. The 2017 guest speaker David Roberts, Chairman of Rimstock PLC then shared his experiences of growing a business quickly telling delegates “the Black Country is the perfect place to do business” and encouraging businesses to “not worry about Brexit, just get over it and sort it out ourselves”.
The Conference saw the first Black Country Open Forum and Q&A with the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayoral candidates ahead of the elections this May with delegates putting their questions to James Burn (Green), Peter Durnell (UKIP), Beverley Nielsen (Liberal Democrat) and Andy Street (Conservative). The session covered topics from transport to housing to education.
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board said: “What a fantastic turn out this morning for the Black Country LEP Annual Conference, everyone in the room has a voice at the top table, and collectively we have a huge influence in the West Midlands and beyond.
I was delighted to share so much progress across the Black Country economy highlighting in several areas how our LEP is holding the number 1 spot nationally – in terms of Growth Deal Delivery, our Enterprise Zones and Broadband – as well as now having a national profile as the manufacturing heart of the UK. Working together we can continue to transform our economy.”
Black Country LEP Chairman Stewart Towe opens the LEP 2017 Annual Conference
A full house for today's Conference
The Conference was popular on Twitter too - our hashtag #BCLEPConference17 trended 4th in the UK!
Main picture caption: Black Country LEP Board - Back row (L-R): Chairman Stewart Towe CBE DL, David Roberts (Rimstock PLC), Ninder Johal, Andy Cox. Front row (L-R): Dr Chris Handy, Sameena Ali-Khan (host), Sarah Middleton (Black Country Consortium Ltd) and Tom Westley.
Images are courtesy of Jas Sansi.