Colors: Purple Color

One of the West Midlands’ leading media entrepreneurs has filmed a documentary about his work in the USA – and it features UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) advisers who have helped him gain success. Barry Tomes, founder of Barry Tomes Media Group, says overseas trade at the Gotham Records arm of his business has increased by 60% over the past ten years, since he first engaged with UKTI through the Director of International Trade Jonathan Webber.

Birmingham City Council leader, Cllr John Clancy, has responded to calls for more consultation on budget proposals by adding a third public meeting in the south of the city. The 2016+ budget consultation, setting out budget proposals for 2016/17 – 2019/20, was published last week and, in addition to a range of meetings with groups affected, public meetings have already been held in Erdington and the Council House.

City of Wolverhampton Council hosted a government delegation from China. The Mayor of Hejian City led a nine-strong party on a fact finding mission to the city who were welcomed to the Civic Centre by Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy. Hejian City Mayor, Mr Weijiang Yin, said: “We were keen to visit Wolverhampton and explore its history as a city seated at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

With one in ten Brits reportedly leaving their Christmas shopping until the big day itself, it’s not surprising that the most unlikely places for filling up on festive stocking treats can suddenly transform itself into a haven of holiday help. Perhaps synonymous with a hundred thousand angry housewives clutching a bunch of bad floral arrangements to their heart, the fuel station may be the last resort for a Sachertorte on Christmas Day, but it is still one of the only retail outlets open in the 24 hour festive shut down where goods can go straight from check out to under-the-tree in a matter of moments. 

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce says that the delay over whether to build a new runway at Heathrow will strengthen the case for making better use of Britain’s regional airports. In response to the announcement that the solution to aviation congestion in the South East will be delayed six months, Colin Leighfield, Chair of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce’s Transport Group said: “The Government should use this time to explore how HS2 can be used to support a regional airport strategy as an alternative to expansion in Heathrow. There is more to aviation strategy than environmental concerns.”

Last week Birmingham was formally announced as a City of Sanctuary, in recognition of the efforts to offer shelter and safety to those in need. During an event at the Council House on Friday (December 4) to mark the announcement, the following speech was made by Cllr Shafique Shah. Cabinet Member for Inclusion and Community Safety:

2nd Annual Arabtech event shows real potential of UK cooperation to promote prosperity in the Middle East As negativity dominates the news, the UK-Israel Tech Hub at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv run the 2nd Annual Arabtech Conference in London bringing 10 of the most promising Israeli-Arab start ups to the Silycon Roundabout. The UK-Israel Tech Hub was launched in 2011 to create partnerships in which British companies gain a global competitive edge via Israeli innovation and Israeli innovation can go global via the UK.

Local housing group, Wolverhampton Homes, has become a Founder Patron of ‘The Way’ with less than 50 days to go until the £6m facility open’s on January 16th 2016.  The Way will transform the lives of young people by giving them ‘somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.’ Wolverhampton Homes manage and look after more than 23,000 homes on behalf of Wolverhampton City Council.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) West Midlands, with national law firm DWF, and information security consultancy firm, Aristi, is hosting a free seminar in Birmingham on December 10, which aims to arm small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and medium-sized businesses (MSBs) with the latest information to protect their data and assets. Christine Hamilton, acting regional director of UKTI West Midlands, said it was vital that businesses were prepared for a potential cyber attack.

Edesix, a UK-based market leader in body worn camera (BWC) solutions, has secured further investment from Panoramic Growth Equity, who have been backing the company since 2014.  Edesix has raised a further £750,000 to fund expansion into new markets and to continue the development of its technology, product range and sales infrastructure both in the UK and overseas.

Nuneaton Kasli Pharmacy has won the Best Pharmacy Activity campaign in the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) No Smoking Day Organiser of the Year competition. The Kasli Pharmacy activities on No Smoking Day included fantastic on site promotion and recruitment for their dedicated stop smoking course. The course includes ‘stop smoking champions’ who follow patients through 12 weeks, seeing them weekly and providing advice and support.

Once again the phenomenon of Black Friday has hit British high streets in the run up to Christmas and Opinium Research analysed the nation’s behaviour in response to several days of deals and discounts with some surprising results. Despite the hype, the majority (69%) of Brits avoided Black Friday. Of those who did take advantage of the sales (29% overall) most avoided the madness of the stores and stuck to online shopping (81% versus 35% who shopped in store).

Dream jobs come wrapped up in all sorts of packages, but none could come close to being as magical as the one’s has recently appointed. The leading property letting specialist has announced Hayley Kitto as their 2015 “head of Christmas wishes”. Chosen from a huge number of applicants, Hayley’s unfaltering festive nature and commitment to Christmas, as well as customer service, is what landed her this dream seasonal job.

A report seeking approval to build 166 affordable homes for rent and sale in Perry Common is to go to cabinet. This is the final phase of an area regeneration that has seen the replacement of 908 structurally defective homes with 913 new homes (including a 40 place Extra Care centre), a health centre, and a 60-bed special care centre. The regeneration has also seen the creation and improvement of over 27 acres of public open space and improvement of other community facilities.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce is delighted to reveal that they have been announced as runner-up for the Chamber of the Year Award in the British Chambers of Commerce Awards 2015. This comes a year after the Black Country Chamber of Commerce was awarded the Excellence in International Trade Award at the British Chambers of Commerce Awards 2014. The Awards took place at the Brewery London on 26th November with over 500 people in attendance.