Colors: Purple Color

The future of the West Midlands built environment could lie in the hands of the under 25s, according to industry professionals at the West Midlands Great Debate. This week over 200 industry professionals came together to grill the latest mayoral candidates on their vision for the region’s future. The joint event between the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Landscape Institute Midlands, Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA), Institution of Chartered Engineers (ICE) and Royal Town Planners Institute (RTPI) debates the biggest topics facing the West Midlands built environment each year.

Nominations are now open for the first annual Wolverhampton Independent Retail Excellence (WIRE) Awards. The awards, commissioned by the Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Roger Lawrence, are being led by Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the council. The aim is to celebrate and praise the entrepreneurial spirit, dedication and hard work of those involved in running and managing a successful independent business, as well as to recognise the loyalty and dedication of the staff that work in this sector.

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Export Hub is making a week-long stop in the West Midlands next week, with the aim of helping businesses realise their global ambitions. A series of free events is being held as part of the roadshow, which take places between February 6 and 9 and will offer a range of advice to companies that want to start exporting or increase their international reach. It will also provide opportunities for one-to-one meetings with international trade experts and give businesses the chance to learn about new export markets.

A Shropshire food manufacturer is celebrating its first major export deal to Japan – just months after visiting the country on an international trade mission. Helen Graham, co-owner of the Ludlow Nut Company, has secured an order for 2,400 units of its luxury fruit, nut & seed muesli from Minato Shokai Co Ltd. To mark the occasion, Mr Sugiyama, the company’s president, visited the Ludlow factory.

Organisers of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, which will be held in March next year, are using the opportunity that comes with hosting a major sporting Championships to profile the city and celebrate some of Birmingham’s best known landmarks. The official logo for the event, which will see around 400 athletes from about 150 countries competing at Arena Birmingham* in early March, was unveiled last year.

People travelling to the USA were today warned to be wary of handing over details of their social media accounts and telephone data to Border officials. National law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has advised its own lawyers that they could be breaking Data Protection regulations and client confidentiality obligations if they comply with the current regime, which invites participants in the visa waiver program to give up social media details on a voluntary basis.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce has further strengthened its international ties after welcoming representatives from Bursa – one of Turkey’s key industrial cities. The meeting saw GBCC sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Bursa TSO - Bursa’s Chamber of Commerce – which will see the two organisations collaborate in the future. Bursa is one of the largest cities in Turkey and has a number of similarities with Birmingham, notably in the strength of its automotive, manufacturing, textile and food sectors.

Santander employees across the UK have raised more than £1.1 million for the bank’s charity partners Age UK and Barnardo’s through fundraising events during 2016. Following an all staff vote, Age UK and Barnardo’s were selected to be Santander’s charity partners from 2016 – 2018 with the bank aiming to raise £3 million over the three-year period. Throughout 2016, bank employees raised funds through a range of activities.

A global expert on cities urged the West Midlands to “bang the drum” to ensure that the area made the best of devolution and an elected mayor. Alexandra Jones, chief executive of think-tank Centre for Cities was speaking at a Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) patrons’ lunch hosted by the Park Regis Hotel. She told leading business people: “You should be pushing the mayor, the combined authority and national government to deliver what is best for the region in the months ahead as Britain negotiates a new role in the world. 

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is proud to launch a campaign for 2017 which has a focus on the manufacturing industry. Events will take place throughout the year that focus on the key areas manufacturers need support and guidance on, as well as sharing best practice. With this in mind, the Chamber is delighted to introduce Rachel Eade MBE as their new Manufacturing Ambassador. Rachel will work with the Chamber to raise the profile of manufacturing in the Black Country and support the growth of the industry.

bmi regional, Birmingham Airport and the Department for International Trade have joined forces to launch a corporate event aimed at supporting Midlands businesses as they develop internationally. The Midlands Exporters breakfast briefing and networking event will take place from 8.30am on Wednesday 8 February 2017 at Birmingham Airport.

Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have urged the Government to deliver on the promise of a “truly regional approach” to its Industrial Strategy by committing to significant investment in the Midlands. The Government today unveiled its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy, with an emphasis on building on the UK’s strengths and extending excellence into the future, closing the productivity and wealth gap between different regions and driving growth more evenly across the country.

With people returning to their normal daily routines after the festive period, new research from Santander reveals that an eye watering £3.8 billion was overspent on presents during the festive period, equivalent to £78 per person.  Consequently, two fifths (38 per cent) of adults will make cutbacks this month in order to save money post their Christmas splurge. A fifth (20 per cent) vow to spend less on going out, and a similar proportion (18 per cent) plan to spend less on food and drink.

Full refurbishment works on Wolverhampton’s Civic Halls will get underway on Monday after City of Wolverhampton Council appointed a contractor. Enabling works for the £14.4 million refurbishment of the Grade II listed venue were completed last year. Shaylor Group has now been handed the job of delivering the remainder of the scheme that will see major changes made to the Civic Hall and Wulfrun Hall in phases.

Sandwell councillors have backed a motion calling for a fairer deal for women born in the 1950s affected by a reduction in the state pension age. Representatives from campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) joined Sandwell's full council meeting this week to hear the motion put forward. Councillor Syeda Khatun, the council's deputy leader, thanked the women for attending the meeting and praised their ongoing campaign efforts.