India and England’s shared love of cricket presented an excellent opportunity for Business Birmingham to showcase the city, and all it has to offer, to Indian investors at the recent India v England Test match held at the newly refurbished £32m Edgbaston Ground.
The West Midlands is currently home to a significant number of Indian-owned companies operating in a multitude of sectors that have historically provided strong trade links, including manufacturing, R&D, finance and advanced engineering.
Business Birmingham, the city’s official inward investment programme, aimed to strengthen these ties by meeting key representatives from Indian businesses already present in the city, as well as potential investors, to discuss their expansion plans and how Birmingham could meet their requirements.
Research commissioned by Business Birmingham identified seven key sectors that provide the most potential for further inward investment and India remains a vitally important market for the region. Investment director, Wouter Schuitemaker, was joined at Edgbaston by guests representing existing investors including State Bank of India, Bank of Boroda, Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank and Deutsche Bank as well as companies offering comprehensive investor support including HSBC and international financial advisory service, Mazars.
Birmingham’s booming financial services sector includes a number of companies offering bespoke banking products for Indian companies as well as organisations with exemplary knowledge of international finance.HSBC’s Regional International Commercial Manager for the Midlands, Phill Potter, said:
“India has historically enjoyed strong trade connections with the West Midlands in key sectors, however strengths in new areas are beginning to enhance these traditional links. For example, the West Midland’s world-renowned automotive expertise is now supported by low carbon transport technologies – ensuring the West Midlands retains its rightful position as an industry leader. The capacity to adapt to an ever changing global market place is vital and HSBC is supporting businesses that are taking advantage of these emerging international opportunities across a host of sectors, not only traditional strengths.”
Accessibility is a vital consideration for all potential investors – Birmingham’s central location and existing transport links make it an ideal destination for international business. Birmingham Airport offers one-stop connections to cities across India and the Far East, with airlines such as Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.
Brand Ambassador, Uday Dholakia, joined Schuitemaker at Edgbaston to provide information to guests on how Birmingham Airport is supporting overseas investors.
He said, “The current economic climate means that now, more than ever before, business customers need to maximise their working days. Birmingham Airport is a ten minute train ride from the city centre and operates numerous daily connections to India. More and more companies are recognising Birmingham as a viable business destination thanks to its accessibility and welcoming nature.”
Private sector confidence in Birmingham is demonstrated not only in the newly refurbished Edgbaston Ground, but in developments across the city. The New Street Gateway, High Speed 2 rail plans, which will reduce travel time from London to 49 minutes, and Birmingham Airport’s runway extension, are part of a much bigger city plan which includes extensive residential and commercial developments.
One company capitalising on the current confidence in Birmingham is city based MCD Developments, currently responsible for a major mixed use scheme which is part of the wider Edgbaston cricket ground development. MCD has secured planning consent for 150,000sqft of offices with a hotel, retail facilities, restaurants and cafe/bars and some residential units.
Managing Director, Mike O’Sullivan, believes Birmingham’s confident approach will bolster its reputation to an international audience.
He says, “MCD’s expertise in urban regeneration has led to us being involved in projects all over the UK. We are thrilled to be responsible for such a major project on our home turf. The refurbishment of Edgbaston and the redevelopment of the surrounding area will make a bold statement on an international scale. Birmingham is open for business and has the support networks and infrastructures in place to ensure businesses thrive.”Reflecting on the opportunity to showcase the city to Indian investors, Schuitemaker says, “The Test match at Edgbaston was a great opportunity to show the real Birmingham to an international audience both through the media and face to face with our guests. The stand provides a fantastic view of the city, combining green open spaces with a cosmopolitan, urban backdrop. Birmingham benefits from a host of leisure opportunities including its international sporting venues which all add to the quality of life on offer in the city.
Its accessibility, existing support networks and established centres of expertise across a host of core sectors, offer unparalleled opportunities to strengthen trade links with current and new investors alike.”
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