The Midlands Engine initiative looks to make the West and East Midlands an engine for growth for the UK economy. It is being backed by business, local authorities and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships including The Marches LEP.
The Midlands Engine Strategy is about making the Midlands a powerful engine for economic growth. Stretching from Shropshire to Lincolnshire, with the M1, M6, and most of our major railway lines running through it, the Midlands sits at the very heart of the UK economy.
Building on the modern Industrial Strategy, the Midlands Engine Strategy sets out the actions being taken to address productivity barriers across the Midlands, enabling businesses to create more jobs, export more goods and services, and grow their productivity.
Graham Wynn sits on the Midlands Engine Strategic Board representing The Marches LEP.
What will the Midlands Engine do for the area?
Key to developing the Strategy has been the region’s 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships coming together to boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer.
It focuses on five key themes:
Trade and investment
- Undertaking Midlands Engine trade missions and hosting Midlands Engine inward investment visits.
- Presenting the Midlands Engine to investors at the MIPIM property convention (the annual global property event held in Cannes, France).
- Building a regional business visitor and tourism offer.
- Matt Potts from Shropshire Council is our representative on the Midlands Engine Inward Investment Group
- Developing the vision and strategy for transforming transport connectivity across the Midlands Engine region through Midlands Connect, the cross-region group, which the The Marches LEP is a part of, working towards better integrated transport systems across the Midlands.
- The Marches LEP is represented on the Midlands Connect Board by Graham Wynn
Research and innovation
- Supporting industrial clusters to realise their potential.
- Building a stronger network of regional science parks, as well as a higher education forum.
- David Llewellyn represents the Marches LEP on the Midlands Engine Innovation and Enterprise Group.
- The Midlands Engine Science and Innovation Audit can be found here
Access to Finance
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund, provides commercially focussed finance through Small Business Loans, Debt Finance, Proof of concept and Equity Finance funds.The MEIF Fund aims to transform the finance landscape for smaller businesses in the Midlands and to realise the region’s potential to achieve economic growth through enterprise.
MEIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the West Midlands and East & South East Midlands providing over £250m of investment to boost small and medium business (SME) growth in the Midlands through four different funding options:
- small business loans of £25k to £150k for new or growing businesses
- debt finance of £100k to £1.5m for established businesses that can demonstrate growth potential
- proof of concept/early stage equity funding up to £750k for start-ups looking to commercialise their innovative new product
- later stage equity funding of up to £2m for businesses with ambitious growth plans.
More information on finance options for smaller businesses can be found in the Access the Business Finance Guide. This guide has been devised for businesses and advisors by the British Business Bank and the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty, supported by a further 21 major professional, membership and representative organisations. It is a unique guide that sets out the main things to consider and the finance options available to businesses – ranging from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. The guide also includes several tools and ideas to help businesses consider their finance options, make decisions and plan how they will finance expansion.For more information on MEIF please visit www.meif.co.uk
- Developing a more comprehensive, demand-led approach for skills development in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, based on increased provider collaboration and alignment.
- Undertaking a review of best practice relating to employment and skills. This will be used to accelerate the take up of new and innovative ideas.
- The Marches LEP is represented on the Midlands Engine Skills Group by Ian Oakes