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22/07/2014
Black Country sees sharp increase in Foreign Direct Investment

The Black Country has experienced a sharp increase in the number of jobs created and safeguarded by foreign owned companies over the past 12 months, according to new figures released today by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

•  Almost 200 new jobs created by foreign-owned companies in 2013/14
•  Over 650 jobs safeguarded  by foreign-owned companies in 2013/14
•  18 successful Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2013/14

FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) has created and safeguarded at least 850 jobs in the Black Country in 2013/14 and the area has seen a massive improvement in the number of new investment projects, rising to 18 investment projects in 2013/14 from only four projects the previous year – a rise of some 300 per cent.

Stewart Towe, Black Country LEP Chair, said, "Today’s figures released by UKTI are testament to the ongoing work that the Black Country LEP is doing, through Invest Black Country, to promote the Back Country as an investment destination.

"Our sector strengths, coupled to the effort we have put into raising the profile of the area, mean that we are at the head of a growing pipeline of enquiries in the automotive, aerospace and construction technologies sectors.

"David Cameron himself championed the success of the Black Country when he stated recently that ‘Made in The Black Country, Sold Around the World isn’t just a slogan - it’s a reality’.

"It is highlighting that the Black Country, alongside our partners in the Midlands, is fast becoming the investment hotspot in the UK, and a real contender to London. The Black Country produces some of the most amazing metal products in the world, some of which ensure that buildings stand, cars run and stop and that planes fly and land. Our people are what make our businesses world class, and now we have to make sure that our place comes up to scratch.

"Our challenge is to work with partners to ensure we can continue to deliver quality sites, premises and people for businesses who wish to locate or grow in the Black Country.”

International awareness

The increase in the number of investment projects in 2013/14 has been supported by a renewed focus on investment activity. Invest Black Country (IBC), the investment promotion organisation responsible for attracting potential investors to the area, has sought to capitalise on the region’s growing sector strengths.

IBC has undertaken targeted activities over the last year, including promoting the area’s expertise in the automotive supply chain by launching the interactive supply chain tool the Black Country Bullet virtual car and hosting a number of national and international investors and government departments.

Targeted activity with international developers, property investors and intermediaries at Europe’s largest real estate exhibition MIPIM 2014, and providing direct business support on specific investment leads for organisations that are considering expanding into the Black Country, have helped raise the profile of the Black Country as a place to do business.

Wayne Langford, Head of Invest Black Country, said, "Not only has the Black Country attracted investment that created or safeguarded over 850 jobs last year, but we have also seen a considerable increase in awareness of the Black Country amongst overseas businesses and agencies. This has led to a strong pipeline of potential FDI projects that Invest Black Country is now working, with our partners, to land.

"The Black Country is, more than ever, seen as a desirable place to do business. Recent announcements – including the Black Country overtaking London for new businesses growing to reach £1m turnover in three years, and the approval of the £183 million Black Country Growth Deal – are generating further interest in the area.

"With £20m available for land remediation and a £160m European Strategy under development. coupled to the most successful Enterprise Zone in the country, home to the new £500m new Engine Manufacturing Centre for Jaguar Land Rover, you can see why the Black Country is emerging as an investment destination.

"As a result of all of this work, The Black Country was given a double nod of encouragement earlier this year when Walsall was ranked seventh best small city in Europe for business friendliness by Financial Times’ fDi Magazine and the Black Country LEP was ranked tenth in the UK for FDI strategy in the same awards, recognising the Black Country’s competitiveness on the international stage.”

More information about the work of Invest Black Country can be found at www.investblackcountry.com 

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