John Tew, former President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Sandwell College’s Board of Governors, has been appointed lead in increasing influence across the region. In response to the appointment he said: “This is a great opportunity to align all the great activity that is happening across the region.”

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has representation on the Local Enterprise Partnership Boards and in addition to the Consultative Forum and Board members engaging with key stakeholders, a Young Influencers group has been set up under the leadership of Amy Deakin of Futura Design. Amy said: “It is vital that the voice of young people is heard loud and clear so that in 2023 we can pick up the baton and strive for further growth in the region. All of our young members will receive mentoring and all of us are committed to doubling the size of the Black Country economy.”    

Tew went on to say: “Our strategy is to gain maximum traction for businesses in the region whether by ensuring local MPs understand the business perspective on key issues, appearing in Select Committees and supplying evidence from a Black Country business perspective or ensuring that the British Chambers of Commerce are aware of our views on matters like the Heathrow extension. The Black Country has a lot to offer and our precision component suppliers serve the world. We need to ensure that decision makers are not distracted by the Northern Powerhouse and HS2. Our contribution to the Midlands engine needs to be recognised.  

We have a number of projects to launch and some important things to ask for. Alignment with our stakeholders is important and leadership on behalf of the Black Country’s 32,000 businesses even more so.”