Colors: Purple Color

Virgin Media Business #VOOM 2016 is offering a £1 million (€1.2 million) prize fund so entrepreneurs from the UK and Ireland can turn their visions into reality.  And, in association with LinkedIn, they’re searching for twelve Professional Advisors to help for a few days in June, to judge the country’s most exciting entrepreneurs. If you have the skills these entrepreneurs need, you could also have the opportunity to provide coaching and mentorship before they pitch directly to Richard Branson.

Economic growth across the UK fell in the last three months – but Greater Birmingham manufacturers remain upbeat over their future prospects for driving the Midlands Engine forwards. New national ONS figures show that GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016 slowed to 0.4 per cent from 0.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2015, with services, manufacturing, total production and construction all showing slight declines.

Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy has ruled out the introduction of any form of congestion parking in the city. He spoke out after Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said they were opposed to any move to impose a parking levy that would cost employers thousands of pounds a year. The move followed reports that council officials were examining a scheme in Nottingham where every business employing more than 11 people has to pay £375 a year for each parking slot it has.

Birmingham’s historic Open Market is undergoing a £1m refurbishment, giving the site a fresher look for shoppers and traders. Work on brightening the stalls, laying new tarmac floors and landscaping works is being carried out while the market is closed.  However it will be business as usual for stallholders and shoppers Tuesdays to Saturdays. A ‘living wall’ will also be installed around the compactor area, to keep traders’ packaging and waste hidden from public view.

City of Wolverhampton Council has been praised for its work in helping ex-service personnel make the transition from service accommodation to social housing. The Government has provided statutory guidance outlining what is expected of local authorities in terms of prioritising former service personnel in housing allocations.

The City of Wolverhampton Council is marking the Queen's official 90th birthday by inviting local residents who are celebrating the same milestone in 2016 to a tea party with the Mayor. It will take place in the Mayoral Suite at the Civic Centre from noon on Saturday 11 June, with guests enjoying an afternoon tea fit for the Queen with a selection of sandwiches, cakes and drinks.

West Midlands MEP, Daniel Dalton hosted the successful launch of the West Midlands Brussels Network. The network is aiming to bring together a coherent set of voices from across the spectrum with over 40 people in attendance from the region’s leading businesses, stakeholders and international universities. It aims to emulate the German model, which has been very successful in co-ordinating different cultural and economic sectors to promote individual regions both in Europe and across the world.

The Student Loans Company has reported an increase in scam emails, targeting students’ last – and largest – loan instalment for the year. The Company has closed down a number of scam sites and are closely monitoring the new wave of phishing emails, which are being sent to students, sponsors and the general public.

Spring is traditionally a good time to sell your property, and with more properties coming to the market, here are a few simple improvements that can be made to increase the changes of a successful move.  Whether it’s with price or presentation, Lucy Blythe of Savills residential in the West Midlands gives us her dos and don’ts for selling at this time of year.

BCA Wolverhampton is a modern remarketing facility, with two auction lanes and undercover viewing for 300 vehicles.  The centre is located on the outskirts of Bilston with excellent access via J10 of the M6.  The centre is managed by Jim Wilson, who has been with BCA for nearly 30 years and formerly managed BCA’s Walsall and Birmingham centres. 

A new showhome has opened to the public at one of Bellway’s most popular sites in the West Midlands. The four-bedroom Belmont showhome was recently launched at Forest Oak, a development of 38 new homes being built on land off of Birmingham Road. The development is one of Bellway’s latest contributions to the regeneration of North Solihull and features properties ranging in size from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses.

Following the announcement by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that Labour will back new businesses through the creation of 'strategic entrepreneurial hubs' to provide support for over 20,000 extra entrepreneurs a year at an annual cost of £25 million, Black Country Chamber of Commerce President Adrian Wright said: “We very much support the creation of 20,000 new businesses but the Labour Party must not fall into the trap of wanting the state to provide what the private sector does best.

Commenting on the ministerial response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s Tier 2 review, Keith Bryan, CEO of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very disappointed that the government has accepted the recommendation to introduce the Immigration Skills Charge, and other measures from the Migration Advisory Committee. These measures are bad news for business and will damage the UK’s reputation as a global business hub."