Birmingham must seize the opportunity to excel on a global scale, Chamber delegates have been told. Speaking at a briefing for Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s quarterly business report, Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe called on local businesses to work together to show that the region is a great place to invest. Mr Kehoe, who last week took over as president of GBCC, reinforced his message about geography, scale and Birmingham’s place in the world.
He told delegates at Birmingham City University: “The scale we find ourselves in in the world is always changing. Over the next two years we are going to have to find ourselves. The economic scale of the UK is going to change drastically. “We are a small part of a very small country, yet a very important part. Birmingham’s time is coming because people outside of us have finally recognised what a proposition we have. We have a phenomenal opportunity to change the outlook for our future. The challenge is how we can work together to promote business and business opportunities to city hall, to the UK government, to the people that work with us and have the confidence to move forward and start building a better Birmingham, because our time has come and people have recognised that this is a great place to invest.”
Paul Forrest, director of the West Midlands Economic Forum, spoke about the region’s trade and export potential – and said Birmingham has the potential to replicate major cities such as Munich and Vienna. He said: “We want politicians to understand the size and the structure of the West Midlands economy.If you go to Sweden they have about three or four global brands, if you go to Holland they have about two or three. In the Midlands we have about 30 or 40 global brands at present. If you put the Midlands up against the rest of Europe, it is the size of Austria or the size of Bavaria. It means the cities Birmingham should aspire to or replicate are Vienna or Munich.
“In the case of Birmingham Airport it should be looking to copy Munich with its 38 million passengers and about 500,000 tonnes of air freight.”
The event - hosted and sponsored by Birmingham City University - was held to launch Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce's Quarterly Business Report for the third quarter.