Setting the ambition of being the city of 1,000 SME clusters

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Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy called on the city to become "the city of 1,000 SME clusters" as he echoed the city's proud boast of its industrial heritage.

In a speech to mark Birmingham being named as the most enterprising place in Britain at the recent Enterprising Britain Awards, Cllr Clancy pointed to the "buzz" that has re-emerged in recent years and the role of business in creating it.

"This was known as the city of 1,000 trades, this is the city that needs to become the city of 1,000 SME clusters," he told an invited audience of business leaders and owners.

"There is a buzz about this city and we have not seen that as much for many years. Its the efforts of businesses in the city, particularly smaller businesses in this city, that are part of creating that buzz and that current level of optimism."

Despite the political upheaval nationally since June, he believes the city is well-placed to benefit from the changing landscape.

Cllr Clancy said: "We have a can-do attitude in the context of Brexit and the way we work together, both civic leaders and business - keeping our eyes on the future and the opportunities that are there for this great city once again.

"We have found recently, perhaps with the change of premiership, that there has been a change in attitude towards Birmingham. That's very welcome. I think there is some recognition - in Number 10 in particular - of the importance and potential of Birmingham, the Midlands and the Midlands Engine.

"Obviously we intend to build on that support to push for real devolution to the city and the city region to give us the financial powers to truly drive the West Midlands to its full potential."

The award Birmingham received recognised its work with the six West Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships to create the conditions to improve entrepreneurial confidence, encourage investment, and attract and retain entrepreneurs to create job opportunities.

It has supported 1,000 businesses, generating £87 million in private sector investment and creating or safeguarding 4,300 jobs, as part of its plans to build a Midlands Engine for Growth.

"It's up to us in this city to make the most of that potential and to invest in our infrastructure, our companies, but most of all, the citizens of this city and this region - to show we can lead the UK in creating high productivity and an export-driven economy," added Cllr Clancy.

Source: Alex Turner - Business Desk


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