Ella Joy

Inaugural meeting of Midlands Business Engine Council

Business leaders unite to create a more connected and productive region

Midlands Engine

Jeannie McGillivray, CEO of Remote, took part in the inaugural meeting of the new Midlands Engine Business Council, co-chaired by the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Sir John Peace, Chair, Midlands Engine Partnership. The council brings together business leaders from across the Midlands as part of the government’s action to uplift and develop the regions throughout the Midlands.

The new council met for the first time yesterday (9 February 2021) and contains a diverse group of business leaders from across the Midlands, who were convened by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick to provide the business voice that will help shape the future priorities of the Midlands Engine Partnership and Government.

The Midlands Engine Business Council has around 30 top business leaders from across the region, attendees included:

  • Ben Francis who has grown Gymshark into a billion-pound brand
  • Liv Garfield who brings almost 7 years’ experience as CEO of Severn Trent
  • Steve Scrimshaw, vice president of Siemens Energy who started his career as an apprentice in the energy sector and now brings over 40 years’ industry experience

Together they discussed ambitious plans to deliver jobs, skills and investment throughout the Midlands as we build back better and grasp opportunities outside of the European Union.
The industry leaders discussed how to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic and committed to working closer together to grow the global footprint of the Midlands as the region plans to build back better.

The Midlands is set to be centre stage with Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture and Birmingham hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Communities Secretary and Midlands Engine Champion Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“Since the Industrial Revolution, the Midlands has been a major driving force of the UK economy.

The region has led the way in industries as diverse as automotive, medtech, aerospace and finance and is home to many famous British brands.

This proud tradition of innovation will play a key part in Britain’s global agenda and post-pandemic recovery.

That is why I am proud to be bringing together such an impressive group providing a stronger voice for businesses across the Midlands as we work together to boost prosperity across the region.”

Chair of the Midlands Engine Partnership, Sir John Peace said:

“Our Business Council will provide challenges, embed the voice of industry in our strategic planning and act as a valued conduit for industry to government exchange, focused on the needs of the Midlands.

It will be an important part of our work in partnership as together we take bold steps towards recovery and green growth, for every part of the Midlands Engine.

The council met for the first time today and will meet every 6 months to collaborate on how best to drive growth and productivity throughout the Midlands and help level up the region, making it an even better place to live, work, study and do business.”

Remote CEO, Jeannie McGillivray said:

"As a digital product studio specialising in planning, designing and delivering online applications with the potential to automate business and transform industry, I'd obviously like to highlight the importance of harnessing digital technology.

As such a diverse region with a mix of industrial and rural areas, online software will enable us to create a flagship economy for the Midlands that is greener, more connected, competitive and productive - providing great jobs and economic growth and delivering a positive impact in the lives of all of our communities."

Further information

The Midlands is home to over 10 million people and has a £238 billion economy, generating over 12% of the UK’s Gross Value Added. The Midland Engine Partnership aims to close the productivity gap to match or exceed the national average by 2030.
The Midlands is home to almost 880,000 businesses, 20 universities and 2 international airports and in 2019, the Midlands accounted for a 22% share of all of England’s goods exports.

17 towns across the Midlands Engine region have been awarded funding totalling over £220 million as part of the Future High Streets Fund.

The £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund has, as of October 2020, invested £90 million into 324 small and medium businesses in the region, with a further £82 million of private sector investment being leveraged.

Spending Review 2020 announced over £500 million to upgrade the A46 Newark Bypass and A38 at Derby, as well as £118.5 million Birmingham Commonwealth Games funding to support the games in 2022.

LEPs across the region have received £214 million from the Getting Building Fund.

The Midlands Engine Partnership brings together the Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships and universities in order to drive growth and investment across the region.

List of attendees

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP – Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion
Sir John Peace – Chair, Midlands Engine Partnership

Fiona Allan – CEO, Birmingham Hippodrome
Simon Bird – Regional Director Humber, Associated British Ports
Sonu Bubna – CEO, Shopper.com
Professor Alec Cameron – Vice-Chancellor, Aston University
Nick Crossfield – Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland
Ben Francis – Owner, Gymshark
Liv Garfield – CEO, Severn Trent
Matthew Hammond – Midlands Regional Leader, PwC
Dr Clive Hickman – CEO, Manufacturing Technology Centre
Clare James – Managing Director, East Midlands Airport
Dr Michaela Kendall – CEO, Adelan
Dr Nik Kotecha – CEO, Morningside Pharmaceuticals
Deborah Leary – CEO, Forensic Pathways
Ursula Lidbetter – CEO, Lincolnshire Cooperative
Graeme Macdonald – CEO, JCB
Jeannie McGillivray – CEO, Remote
Professor Kathryn Mitchell – Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby
Kavita Oberoi – Managing Director, Oberoi Consulting and Oberoi Business Hub
Professor Nat Puri – Founder, Purico Group
Steve Scrimshaw – Vice-President, Siemens Energy UK
Mayor Andy Street – Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority and former Managing Director, John Lewis
Ian Stuart – CEO, HSBC UK
Paul Thandi – CEO, NEC Group
Stephen Vickers – CEO, Devonshire Group

Government press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-local-entrepreneurs-help-plan-boost-to-midlands-economy