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Annual Report

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

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2019 / 2020

Annual Report

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Logo

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2019 / 2020

Annual Report

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Logo

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2019 / 2020

Photo of Tim Pile
Tim Pile GBSLEP Chair
Signature of Tim Pile

“It has never been more important to invest in our future, focusing on market needs and sector strengths which are unique to our region, generating new ideas and solutions and creating new highly skilled jobs for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here.”

Foreword by Katie Trout

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)’s purpose remains clear and unwavering; to deliver interventions that drive inclusive economic growth, resulting in more jobs and in a better society for all our citizens.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull region is home to word-class businesses, expertise and facilities in a number of expanding sectors which will be key drivers of sustainable economic growth in the future. The region has the capability to make a significant contribution both nationally and globally.

At the beginning of the year, our region was one of the most promising regions in the country. Since 2010, our economy has grown twice that of the average of major English city-regions, more than 165,000 private sector jobs have been created and GVA growth saw an increase of 4.9% across the GBSLEP area in 2018.

However, we cannot overlook the huge and devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent public health measures resulting in a national lockdown. We are living in extraordinary times, and there is no doubt that Greater Birmingham and the whole of the West Midlands has been severely impacted. Our great strengths in manufacturing, and our young, diverse population left us more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. However, they can also be some of our greatest assets in our recovery. The challenges we have collectively faced have been immense and we must acknowledge that there are likely still hard times to come, but I profoundly believe that we can, working with our partners across the region, rebuild our economy – and build it back to be even stronger than before.

It has never been more important to invest in our future, focusing on market needs and sector strengths which are unique to our region, generating new ideas and solutions and creating new highly skilled jobs for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here. Collaboration between organisations is going to be essential in achieving this; locally developed and led projects will have a crucial role to play not only in bouncing back, but in improving our future resilience. GBSLEP, as a unique collaboration of the private, public and education sectors, has a role to play in bringing together partners and guiding resources toward interventions that will make a real-world and lasting difference.

I am extremely proud to serve as Chair of GBSLEP and to witness the impact already being made by LEP-funded projects, be it capital investments via our Growth Programme, targeted interventions to unlock growth of our key sectors or business support being delivered directly through our Growth Hub. The breadth of this work is made possible by the commitment and passion of our partners, the LEP Executive team and the Board. I want to extend enormous thanks to my fellow Board Directors for their uncompromising dedication to build the economy of our region.

Whilst much has been achieved, there is much to be done in the year ahead to aid a swift recovery and sustainable growth. We will continue to collaborate closely with all our partners to bring forward investments and see the full potential of our region realised.


Photo of Katie Trout
Katie Trout GBSLEP Director
Signature of Katie Trout

“Our Local Growth Fund reached a major milestone at the beginning of this year, with investment surpassing £180 million, creating 5764 new jobs and unlocking 1379 homes since its inception in 2014.”

Foreword by Tim Pile

Through the course of 2019-20, GBSLEP has made substantial progress in key areas of activity, including delivery of our Growth Programme and bringing forward interventions to; unlock business growth; stimulate innovation; increase skills levels; develop vibrant and thriving places; and harness the potential of the cultural and creative assets across the region.

Our Local Growth Fund reached a major milestone at the beginning of this year, with investment surpassing £180 million, creating 5764 new jobs and unlocking 1379 homes since its inception in 2014. Projects that have received investment have had a positive impact on key growth sectors such as low carbon and energy technologies, life sciences, manufacturing and creative sectors, all of which are crucial drivers for the region’s ongoing success.

Working in partnership with 10 towns, we launched our Growing Our Towns report to provide a series of recommendations based on clear evidence about strengths, challenges and opportunities for the future prosperity of our towns. Building on our Towns and Local Centres Framework we launched and delivered a second round of funding to support smaller, focused projects that develop communities and add to a distinctive sense of place. In addition, we committed over £81,000 to cultural organisations via our Cultural Capacity Fund.

Although we have seen much success, we must also acknowledge that Covid-19 has taken a heavy toll on our economy, bringing about fast-paced and unparalleled changes to our working practices and everyday lives. Businesses, their employees and the self-employed have all been seriously affected and we have seen firsthand how quickly they have needed to adapt. GBSLEP has expanded its support available through our Growth Hub, diverting more of our resources to ensuring businesses can readily access the advice they need. We continue to work closely with partners to gather intelligence on local impact and design and fund our own set of interventions aimed to respond to identified needs.

Close partnership working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and our neighbouring LEPs has seen great strides taken toward the implementation of the Local Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands. In consultation with local businesses, the development of Sector Action Plans has provided a critical foundation from which to build well-evidenced Sector Recovery Plans. It is important we continue meaningful engagement with industry and partners across the public and education sectors as we drive these plans forward.

To bolster our key sectors, we have delivered a number of sector-specific activities, including publishing the most in-depth and far-reaching report on our burgeoning Fintech sector, formation of a Health Technologies Cluster Organisation to further strengthen Greater Birmingham’s Life Sciences sector as well as allocating funding for state-of-the-art facilities and business support services at Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, co-developing the region’s new screen industry body, Create Central, supporting rail suppliers to access new contracts via our High-Speed Mentor programme in collaboration the Rail Alliance, and developing the region’s first low carbon action plan. These interventions will help to ensure we are well positioned to seize new opportunities for an accelerated and sustainable recovery and support businesses with changes emanating from the end of the transition period for leaving the European Union.

All of this activity, and much more, is borne out of strong collaboration across the public, private and educations sectors. I’d like to give my immense thanks to our dedicated Board and talented Executive for their hard work and commitment.

Despite the difficulties the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to have an exciting pipeline of important projects and I am looking forward to continuing to work with partners, to harness our resources and deliver a tangible benefit for all our businesses and residents.


The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Limited (GBSLEP) was established in 2010 as a partnership of business, public sector and further and higher education leaders. The area we cover spans nine local authorities: Birmingham, Solihull, East Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, Redditch, Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest. We have a population of just over 2 million people, an estimated 1,038,000 jobs, and an economy worth £46.8bn.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull is home to one of the largest professional and financial centres outside of London, with a world leading advanced manufacturing base, burgeoning creative and cultural industries and emerging strengths in health technologies.

We are a business led partnership which works with public sector and educational partners to create economic growth in our region This collaborative and business focused approach enables us to create targeted interventions for maximum benefit to the local economy and local communities.

Our Mission

GBSLEP’s mission is to drive the economic growth of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area, creating jobs and increasing the quality of life for all our residents.

Our Role

To achieve our mission of growing the economy, GBSLEP has three main roles to play:

  • Agitator

    Acting as a voice for the GBSLEP area, we use our influence to secure greater funding and powers from the government and to leverage more investment from the private sector, both at home and overseas.

  • Enabler

    Bringing together existing partners and organisations within the area, we support and guide activity and resources to meet shared priorities.

  • Commissioner

    Using resources directly aligned to the LEP, we invest in priorities that support our mission.

Our Contribution to Local Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands

In 2019/20, GBSLEP alongside our partners, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Black Country LEP and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, continued to accelerate efforts to further the opportunities highlighted in the Local Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands, with a focus on major new market opportunities and prioritising activity that will stimulate inclusive economic growth. We continue to lead work on five sector action plans; Creative, Health Technologies, Low Carbon Technologies, Food & Drink Manufacturing and Business, Professional & Financial Services (BPFS).  We have conducted significant engagement activities with industry and began the processes of setting up industry-led ‘sector boards’ to guide further development of these plans.

GBSLEP is committed to maintaining this momentum as we implement the Local Industrial Strategy, now more important than ever in light of Covid-19, to ensure future economic growth and resilience.

Our Delivery Priorities

Low Carbon Technologies & Services
Life Sciences & Health Technologies
Food & Drink Manufacturing & Processing
Creative Industries
Business, Financial and Professional Services
Business Support and Access to Finance

“GBSLEP’s Delivery Priorities focus on specific interventions where industry identifies constraints on, or opportunities for, growth.”

Our Economic Performance

* The KPIs presented in this report reflect performance over 2019/20 and so do not reflect the challenging economic circumstances we have faced since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and the severe impact that has had for the economy.

Our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide a measure of how the economy of the GBSLEP area is performing and helps us to understand whether we are achieving our goals, with partners, to grow the economy, create jobs and improve the quality of life in our area. The KPIs provide a basis to track long-term trends and compare our area with the national picture and with other core cities across the country. These measures help us to focus the design of our investments and interventions and inform our work, with the business community, to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.


additional jobs

12.8 Bn

increase on GVA

* Since 2010


place among core cities for quality of life

During 2019/20 our area continued to perform well against both the original baseline positions and when compared to other parts of the country. Since 2010 we have contributed to the creation of over 162,000 additional jobs and helped increased economic value (GVA) by some £12.8 billion in the GBSLEP area. We have improved our standing among core cities, coming second place in the quality of life index.

At the end of the 2019/20 financial year, the national economy was severely disrupted by the Covid-19 public health emergency that closed much of the service sector and industry and saw around one third of the workforce in the West Midlands furloughed. The pandemic is having a devastating impact on many businesses that have experienced a collapse in demand that challenges their long-term viability and in the labour market, with growing levels of unemployment. GBSLEP is working with Government and  partners across  the West Midlands to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

KPIBaseline (2010)CurrentProgress to DateLatest Data
Create 250,000 Private Sector Jobs by 2030 to be the Leading Core City LEP for Private Sector Job Creation 633,600795, 652
162,052 6,750
Increase GVA by £29bn by 2030£42bn£54.8bn
44% Delivered
Decrease Unemployment to the National
Average by 2020
Point Gap with UK
Point Gap with UK
(December 2019)
19% Delivered
+0.4% points
To have the lowest unemployment
amongst the LEP Core Cities by 2030
Point Gap with Leading CC
Point Gap with Leading CC (West of England, Dec. 2019)
49% Delivered
+0.3% points
GBSLEP to be the Leading Core City LEP
by 2030 for GVA per Head
£6,300 Per Head Gap£3,784
Per Head Gap
Per Head Gap
40% Delivered
-£375 Per Head Gap
Increase the % of Working Age Population
with NVQ3+ to the National Average by 2025
Point Gap with UK
Point Gap with UK
(December 2019)
Gap with UK
+0.7% Point Gap with UK
Skill or Task
Skill or Task
Skill or Task
Skill or Task
Arrow pointing towards figures
Larger arrow pointing towards figures

What we’ve achieved Timeline

Since the end of the financial year

  • Several towns across the Greater Birmingham region received a funding boost to lay the foundations for future growth as part of GBSLEP’s Towns and Local Centres (TLC) Framework. Supported projects include Bromsgrove’s Town Centre Plan for 2040 and a feasibility study for the potential redevelopment of government owned assets in Redditch.

  • Construction began at a new University of Birmingham sustainable energy research and innovation centre based at Tyseley Energy Park, after receiving £7 million of GBSLEP funding.

  • Construction work began on £3 million Snow Hill public realm project to improve the public space for pedestrians and public transport connectivity. The project will improve pedestrian access and public realm in the historic Colmore area.

  • GBSLEP launch Step Forward campaign to aid business recovery in response to Covid-19, working alongside a suite of expert partners, including local authorities and several Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to establish pilot projects which will support SMEs in key growth sectors and towns and local centres.

Delivery Map

LGF Key Achievements

In 2019/20 we have allocated £22.67m of Local Growth Fund, working with partners to deliver high impact projects.

Hover over a hotspot on the map to view more information!


1 = Local Growth Fund (LGF)
2 = Enterprize Zone (EZ)


3 = Enterprize Zone (EZ)

Delivery Map

Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC)

Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC) will be a newly built applied research & innovation facility based at Tyseley Energy Park (TEP), which will be instrumental in helping to realise the region’s ambitions for the Energy Capital & Tyseley Energy Innovation Zone initiatives.


Burton Regeneration and Flood Defence

Delivering improvements to flood defences for Burton and the regeneration of the adjacent Washlands area and creating an environmental visitor attraction and better links from the riverside to Burton town centre. It will be delivered as a collaboration between the Environment Agency and East Staffordshire Borough Council.


Redditch Gateway

Redditch Gateway is a 25.5ha commercial development site located on the eastern side of Redditch, with a forecast of up to 1 million sqft of new commercial space, creation of around 2,060 jobs and £90m additional GVA.


Commonwealth Games 2022

Funding towards redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium to support the delivery of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 and ensures a legacy impact for the area.


Cannock Chase Engineering Academy
Delivering 450 higher level qualifications at levels 4 & 5 for learners to exceed their expectations and standards of qualifications in the engineering sector. The project will create a new Engineering Academy in Cannock Chase.


A38 Bromsgrove Major Scheme Barley Mow

The A38 Major Scheme will support the sustainable growth of Bromsgrove, Redditch and South Birmingham by enhancing the existing A38 Bromsgrove Eastern Bypass and targeting locations where delay and congestion are currently experienced. Package one, comprises three junction improvements.


Churchfields Urban Village

This scheme will deliver the highway infrastructure required to access the Churchfields Urban Village. This is a key housing led development site located to the north of Kidderminster town centre, where future development potential is currently constrained by poor access. The development of this site is a key aspiration of the Wyre Forest Local Plan.


Construction Skills for work-readiness

The project seeks to establish realistic construction sites at both Solihull College’s Blossomfield Campus and a site on Houndsfield Lane which will be run in partnership with a commercial construction company that has experience of delivering successful work ready programmes for the sector.


Quantum Technology Innovation Hub

The Quantum Technology Innovation Hub (QTIH) will provide entrepreneurial researchers, sensor technologists, systems engineers and businesses with access to demonstration and local test and validation equipment. Collectively, these facilities will help to accelerate the development of proof of concepts and prototypes for innovative, new scientific instruments and products built around commercial applications.


Curzon Station Public Realm

The project will design and develop viable, costed urban design proposals to support the design of the HS2 Curzon Station environment. The designs will help to secure planning permission as part of the overall Curzon Station planning process led by HS2 Ltd.


Southside Public Realm

The Southside Public Realm scheme will provide a safe and attractive route for cyclists and pedestrians heading from New Street Station to the Southside Quarter. The scheme will connect surrounding transport and Enterprise Zone sites via high quality, well lit, public realm style routes. A new public square will be created adjacent to the Birmingham Hippodrome.


Fast Track into Rail

The project involved the installation of two lines of track at James Watt College in Birmingham.  Installation of the track will add value to the rail programmes offer by BMet’s new Rail Academy, enabling them to equip learners with the skills to progress into higher level technical skills programmes and careers within the rail industry.


A38 Bromsgrove Major Scheme Barley Mow (Phase 1)

The A38 Major Scheme will support the sustainable growth of Bromsgrove, Redditch and South Birmingham by enhancing the existing A38 Bromsgrove Eastern Bypass. The first phase of works included improvements in 3 key locations: Barley Mow Lane, M5 Junction 4 and M42 Junction 1.


Kidderminster Railway Station

Redeveloping the station area improves the interchange and increases the catchment area. The brand-new glass-fronted station building doubles the size of the old building along with other improvements made to the forecourt area which have made it safer for pedestrians to access the station.


Battery Way Extension

Creation of a new 700m long single carriageway road between the existing Battery Way and Reddings Lane to ultimately unlock a redundant industrial estate. This will act as a catalyst for regeneration of the wider Tyseley and Greet areas which are key employment zones for the south-east of the city.

£100m +

Match funding leveraged


Overall programme spend


Upskilled learners


Jobs created

Enterprise Zone

Programme Highlights

In 2019/20 the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership have invested £25.5m to support development across the Enterprise Zone (EZ) a total investment of £154.2m of EZ funding since its formation. This investment has leveraged £200m of private sector investment in year with a total to date of £799.9m. This investment was made possible by borrowing by Birmingham City Council against retained business rates.

  • Belmont Works (Delivery) EZ Investment £2.5m (Total project costs £57.9m)

    Located at Eastside Locks the comprehensive conversion/refurbishment of the Locally Listed Belmont Works will help fund the construction of a new multi-use office building for STEAMhouse, a collaborative innovation centre focused around STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths), including related teaching and learning space delivered by BCU through a STEAM Academy plus commercial space and grow on space for SMEs, and office space for single or multiple occupancy users.

  • Paradise (Delivery) EZ investment £139m (Total project cost £500m)

    Phase 1 of the Paradise development has now delivered 335,000sqft of prime office space. Price Waterhouse Coopers were the first to locate, moving into 150,000sqft. of space in One Chamberlain Square in January 2020, and closely followed by Dishoom who recently opened its doors in July 2020. Two Chamberlain Square is nearing completion with a positive take-up of floorspace by DLA Piper, Frank Knight and Vinoteca. Work commenced on Phase 2, with One Centenary Way, which is being speculatively built to deliver another 135,000sqft of office space. In total the Paradise scheme will deliver 10,000 jobs and 1.5m sq. Ft of new floorspace.

  • Pinch Points – Ashted Circus (Completed) EZ Investment £1.5m

    Improvements to Ashted Circus created left-turn slip lanes on both Dartmouth Middleway approaches at Ashted Circus – a key junction for Aston University, Eastside and the Curzon regeneration area. The benefits of this has seen a new four-armed traffic signal-controlled junction, staggered traffic signal-controlled toucan crossings, on carriageway cycle lanes and shared use footway for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Metro Extension (Completed) EZ Investment £20.4m (Total project cost £64m).

    The Metro became operational in December 2019 and is the first tramway in the UK to operate on battery power, removing the need to fix electrical wires to listed buildings. The Metro has brought forward the Westside extension of the Midland Metro from New Street Station, serving Victoria Square, Paradise and Arena Central developments.

  • Southside Public Realm (Development work commenced) EZ Southside Public Realm received £691,703 of Development Funding from GBSLEP

    The Southside improvement scheme will transform the Southside area into the new “front-door” of Birmingham City Centre. The scheme will upgrade links which connect the area to surrounding transport hubs and Enterprise Zone sites. Hurst Street, Ladywell Walk and the lower section of Hill Street will be significantly upgraded, providing attractive, well-lit and safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Curzon Station Environment (Development work commenced)

    The project comprises two different public realm schemes, known individually as Curzon Promenade and Paternoster Place and will be delivered by HS2 within the contract to design and build the station. Planning approval was gained last quarter for the station and surrounding landscape. The planning application for Paternoster Place is now being considered.

    New jobs created (financial year 19/20) 2,392 (to date 6,657)
    HA of land made ready for development (financial year 19/20) 4ha (to date 19.4ha)
    SQM of newly created floorspace (financial year 19/20) 62,930 sqm (to date 270,985)

Growth Hub

Since its inception in 2015, our Growth Hub has worked with 9480 businesses.

The GBSLEP Growth Hub is part of a government funded network of 38 Hubs, with one in each LEP area. It is a fully funded, impartial service for businesses and entrepreneurs across Greater Birmingham, helping business leaders achieve their growth ambitions.

GBSLEP Growth Hub operates as a partnership of key local organisations, including universities, local authorities and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Since its inception in 2015, our Growth Hub has worked with 9480 businesses.

Thanks to £2m of extra EU funding secured last year, the Growth Hub has been able to expand its services with the addition of Account Managers, who offer ongoing support to SMEs with more complex issues, such as preparing for the EU Exit.

The next stage in the Hub’s expansion will see more Business Advisers join the team, as well as sector-specific Account Managers, to ensure vital, tailored support to even more businesses to facilitate growth in the local economy.

Following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever that businesses are readily able to access the support they need, in some cases to assess and pivot their business model, access new skills and training,  increase innovation and technology adoption and improve future resilience and competitiveness.


Businesses helped last year:


are satisfied with the Growth Hub’s service


have taken actions since accessing support


are satisfied with the outcome


are likely to recommend the Growth Hub

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) form a key part of the overall delivery of the GBSLEP’s Strategic Economic Plan, addressing key priorities in the local economy. These include; driving up levels of innovation amongst businesses in key growth sectors, providing a business support offering across the range of delivery agents in the GBSLEP area, addressing low carbon challenges and promoting employment and employability amongst some of our most deprived communities.  GBSLEP was nominally allocated €255.8 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) monies to be match funded 50% with other funding to cover the period 2014-20.

GBSLEP has an ESIF sub-committee that advises the managing government agencies (Managing Authorities) on local strategic aims alongside national strategic and operational objectives. It also ensures that maximum impact is achieved through the Funds.  It is the responsibility of those Managing Authorities to manage the Funds and ensure the overall deliverables of the programme are met.

Although responsibility for the management of funds and delivery sits with the Managing Authorities, the ESIF form a key part of the GBSLEP’s funding priorities to support the local economy.

In 2019/20, the Managing Authorities moved their locally uncommitted ERDF and ESF to a national reserve, however GBSLEP is still able to shape targeted calls for both funds.

Growth Hub Case Studies

Inclusive Commonwealth Legacy Programme (ICLP) – Green Sisters

The Inclusive Commonwealth Legacy Programme (ICLP), which is fully funded by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership supports SMEs from within diverse communities to accelerate their growth.

Great Barr-based Green Sisters was founded by sisters Geeta and Reena Salhan. The businesses specialise in manufacturing a wide range of products, both plant-based and free-from up to 14 allergens.


Geeta Salhan, said: “In terms of business support and help, we have been privileged at Green Sisters to utilise the support of Joel Blake and the ICLP programme (Inclusive Commonwealth Legacy Programme) from GBSLEP.

“While helping us access advice and funding, the programme has also helped us develop our entire philosophy of our food being ‘free from compromise.’ That means working with like-minded individuals and companies to take our products forward in the way we want to.”

Julia Bochenski from Ashes Memorial Jewellery

Ashes Memorial Jewellery

The GBSLEP Growth Hub have helped businesses like Ashes Memorial Jewellery to receive funding for business growth.

Julia Bochenski, Managing Director, said: “We were not eligible for government funding and I wanted to grow the business by funding new equipment, upskilling members of staff, and trying to place a graduate.”


The Growth Hub introduced Julia to the Manufacturing Growth Programme which will help the business with funding to increase their visibility online. She was also introduced to STEAMhouse, a research centre for innovation and creation.

Julia added: “Our business is constantly looking for new products and new ideas which takes a lot of R&D, time and money to develop. Joining STEAMhouse will enable us to create 3D printed jewellery which is an exciting step for us.” The real benefit as a small business owner is knowing that there are organisations like the GBSLEP Growth Hub that genuinely support small businesses.”

Sanitell Cleaning Services

Sanitell Cleaning Services, a business offering domestic and commercial cleaning services across the West Midlands, approached the GBSLEP Growth Hub to increase brand awareness.

Rose-Marie Shields-Radcliff, Managing Director said: “I looked at the packages the Growth Hub had to offer and realised that they would be beneficial to help me to scale up my company.”

Sanitell Cleaning Services have benefitted from a series of Digital Skills webinars, which was part of the Step Forward programme. Business owners learnt how to make their organisations more visible on social media, they improved their marketing skills and more, Rose-Marie described the webinars as “very helpful”.

The service that Rose-Marie was most impressed with was the business training programme ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. She explained: “I’ve always wanted to know how to write bids, but it was costly, so to have the opportunity to access the free training has been invaluable.”

Rose-Marie Shields-Radcliff from Sanitell Cleaning

Sectors & Themes

“The West Midlands’ large and diverse population, innovative healthcare ecosystem and rich Research & Development environment makes it the ideal location in which to train and work in health and care, as well as establish and grow a health technology business.”

Advanced Manufacturing is a key growth sector for the region, providing high value jobs and catalysing innovation and growth across multiple sectors, our region is home to cutting edge research and development, established OEMs and globally competitive, interconnected supply chain firms. The region has leading strengths in automotive and aerospace and there are significant opportunities for growth in next generation rail technologies, capitalising on global markets in very light and digital rail. Food and drink manufacturing also has a strong presence in our area and across the wider West Midlands, highlighted in the Local Industrial as a key sector strength.

We set out to:

  • Increase capability, and therefore competitiveness, of our local advanced manufacturing supply chain by increasing growth aspirations and awareness of opportunities around innovation.

  • Attract new investment through increased sector competitiveness.

  • Boost productivity through increased leadership and skills capacity and access to new market opportunities.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Through ERDF, we have supported initiatives across advanced manufacturing, including the Manufacturing Growth Programme – the UKs largest business support programme for manufacturing SMEs.

  • We have delivered the Mentoring for Growth scheme to support manufacturing SMEs in our area working with the national organisation Be the Business and Manchester Growth Company. Supported by some of the UK’s leading businesses, the scheme specifically looks to address productivity barriers.

  • The High-Speed Mentor scheme, funded by GBSLEP and delivered by the Rail Alliance, has supported SME rail suppliers to develop their capability to secure high speed rail contracts.

Advanced Manufacturing
Advanced Manufacturing
Advanced Manufacturing

Greater Birmingham has a large, growing and dynamic creative economy, employing nearly 50,000 people and generating £4.1 billion GVA per annum, almost 9% of the total GVA of £46.8bn.

It has a substantial advertising, marketing and design sector, including web, product, fashion design, PR and data analysis and it also supports design led thinking as a ‘catalyst of growth’ for all sectors.

A mix of digital media expertise – from young and diverse to major companies – means the region is well placed to develop a new mixed media kind of storytelling, combining for example, virtual & augmented reality (VR/AR) with theatre and tourism.

We set out to: 

  • Address gaps and opportunities in incubators and accelerators by bringing forward a pipeline of projects for capital funding.

  • Launch a Cluster Development Fund to invest in the capacity of sector intermediaries to develop the creative cluster ecosystem.

  • Launch a specific “screen” initiative focused on locations, production services and supply chain cluster development to realise the potential of filming and production in the West Midlands.

  • Improve the effectiveness of existing skills pipeline and career progression for the creative industries by developing a multi-employer apprenticeship model to suit the needs of the sector and pilot a new entrant’s support programme.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Leading the development of the West Midlands Creative Industry Sector Plan.

  • Co-developing the region’s new screen industry body, Create Central and its £1m sector growth fund win from British Film Institute.

  • Supporting skills and talent development across the region by piloting a new approach to multi-employer apprenticeship models.

  • Supporting skills and talent development across the region by piloting a new approach to multi-employer apprenticeship models.

Creative Industries
Creative Industries
Creative Industries

The low carbon sector is one of the region’s key areas of strength that can enable clean growth and prosperity in the coming years. By focussing on opportunities to boost the growth and productivity of low-carbon businesses, Greater Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands, can boost both domestic and foreign inward investment, scale-up its export potential and ultimately create jobs and improve quality of life. The sector already makes a significant contribution to the region’s economy, contributing £3.3bn GVA across the WMCA, and is forecast to dramatically increase.

We set out to:

  • Define and address key market failures by delivering additional business support and funding for LCET businesses.

  • Develop a pipeline of investible low-carbon projects to showcase and elevate regional LCET innovation.

  • Work with regional stakeholders to understand the emerging skills gap in LCET and issue revenue support for the sector.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include: 

  • Engaging with over 70 regional LCET stakeholders to inform the design the region’s Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies Sector Action Plan.

  • Setting-up the region’s first industry-led Steering Group consisting of 19 businesses who have supported the LEP define high-priority interventions around business support and innovation to deliver in the near-term.

  • Invested £7 million of Local Growth Fund in the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre, situated on the Tyseley Energy Park, which will support R&D across energy, waste and transportation systems.

Low Carbon
Low Carbon
Low Carbon

Greater Birmingham has a strong and well-established history in Business, Professional and Financial services (BPFS), a youthful, diverse and expanding workforce, and a host of incubators and innovation centres. Overall, £27.8bn of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) GVA is attributed to the sector. This makes BPFS the largest sector in the West Midlands and the UK’s largest regional banking and professional services cluster.

Birmingham hosts the only full-service UK offering outside London, with cutting-edge city centre office space in new developments across the region. GBSLEP’s vision focuses on driving technology-led innovation, drawing on our centres of excellence in higher education institutions.

We set out to:

  • Maximise opportunities for technology-led innovation, supporting development of new business models, products and services.

  • Build and promote the West Midlands ecosystem to enhance the place proposition that resonates at a national and international level.

  • Stimulate new partnerships and support activities connected to the development of next generation services.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Launched the most in-depth and far-reaching report on the burgeoning Fintech sector in the West Midlands, outlining steps to promote the sector’s continued growth.

  • Investment in BPFS and specific digital support programme for sector SMEs to enable productivity gains from technology adoption.

  • Support and additional funding to scale-up Professional Services Week to a year-round programme aimed at developing the local talent pipeline for BPFS sector.

  • Developing proposals to increase innovation in professional services, building greater links between regional research centres in Higher Education and our Services businesses.

Business, Professional & Financial Services
Business, Professional & Financial Services

The West Midlands’ large and diverse population, innovative healthcare ecosystem and rich Research & Development environment makes it the ideal location in which to train and work in health and care, as well as establish and grow a health technology business. Our strengths lie in bringing different disciplines and sectors together. GBSLEP is leading initiatives to lever value and deliver growth from our world-class industry, clinical and academic assets. In turn, driving innovation and adoption of new approaches and technologies.

We set out to:

  • Coordinate investments in infrastructure, business support and skills and make it available to business and industry.

  • Showcase the West Midlands as the location of choice to learn, work and develop a health technologies business.

  • Assemble our digital capabilities to deliver timely, effective and tailored patient care.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Securing funding for state-of-the-art facilities and business support services at Birmingham Health Innovation Campus and the Precision Health Technologies Accelerator.

  • Establishing a West Midlands Health Technology Cluster to support early stage, established and incoming health technology businesses.

Health Technologies
Girl in the lab illustrating Health Technologies
Health Technologies

*Image courtesy of The Binding Site

Health Technologies

GBSLEP’s focus during 2019/20 has been on ensuring that we boost our skilled workforce to address gaps in key growth sectors. We strive to increase higher skills at level 3+ (equivalent to A Levels) and we work to inspire our young and richly diverse demographic communities to enter and progress in employment opportunities and pathways in our key growth sectors. Partnership working and collaboration with local projects and employers are considerably important to aid the success with our skills ambition.

We set out to:

  • Tackle skills shortages and gaps that can be barriers to innovation and long-term business growth and productivity.

  • Motivate and inspire people to develop skills for key sectors and technologies for growth, particularly at Level 3+.

  • Support and promote new approaches that connect growing businesses and enterprises to motivate and recruit young and diverse talents into our key sectors for growth.

  • Enable employers to influence and ensure training provision meets emerging technologies and their future needs.

Our Activities to support the growth of skills during 2019/20 include:

  • Developing and funding a three-year programme to significantly increase higher skills at Level 3+.The ‘Plan 10k’ approach includes a focus on  capital investment in Further Education and training provision and the development of Skills and Apprenticeship Hubs to increase the creation and uptake of apprenticeships.

  • Supporting the development and part funding of two Careers Hubs to connect employers to careers and enterprise activity and inspire young people in over 109 local Secondary Schools and Colleges to develop their careers in our key growth sectors.

  • Developing a promotional campaign to increase the take-up of apprenticeships among under-represented groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.


We are committed to becoming a world-leader in innovation, by developing collaborative cross-sector approaches that stimulate demand-led innovation and strengthen our innovation ecosystem. We aim to increase the number of companies exploiting new ideas and solutions, as we continue to work with industry and research organisations to encourage increased levels of collaborative Research and Development.

We set out to:

  • Develop and deliver a pilot innovation programme focussing on challenge-based events with an emphasis on cross-sectoral activity, financial support for Research and Development and company centric innovation support.

  • Support development of key demonstrators, commercialisation of research and support for businesses based on the research excellence of our universities.

  • Support projects that stimulate and support market-led innovation amongst businesses in key growth industries.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • An Innovation Pilot programme to test how innovation can be stimulated among SMEs within our area, following evidence suggesting a market challenge-based approach would be the most suitable to encourage innovative responses.

  • Investing funds in the development of projects to create innovation infrastructure targeting key growth sectors. These include; the Precision Health Technology Accelerator, Quantum Technology Innovation Hub and Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC).

  • Delivering the Innovation Enabler pilot programme, designed to embed local support to improve confidence and strategic management of intellectual property (IP).


Greater Birmingham continues to be a hot spot for business start-ups, with a start-up rate per head of population being above the core city LEP average. However, a key challenge remains to increase initial survival rates and then sustained growth amongst a higher proportion of businesses. This focus lies at the heart of our Business Support and Access to Finance strategy.

Providing access to joined-up tailored business support to support business resilience and growth and strengthening access to the right type of finance are key drivers for success that will improve the job opportunity and productivity of our region.

We set out to:

  • Deliver the next phase of the GBSLEP Growth Hub through an enhanced partnership model that focuses on simplifying the local business support landscape.

  • Continue to develop access to finance services through the Growth Hub Access to Finance service; increasing the quality and success of applications to the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) and support the establishment of a more connected angel investment ecosystem within Greater Birmingham.

  • Improve access to mainstream and specialist business support for businesses outside of existing support networks, particularly in some of our diverse communities, through expansion of our inclusive growth business support programme.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Securing £1.9m of ERDF in December 2019 to double funds and capacity of the GBSLEP Growth Hub.

  • The Access to Finance service and funding portal supported 201 Access to Finance enquiries, of which 89 businesses had a 1:1 consultation and 18 were enabled to apply to funding providers, including the MEIF.

  • Collaborating with regional partners, established a new business support programme – the Inclusive Commonwealth Legacy Programme (ICLP) – to building the capacity and capability of diverse-owned businesses to access Commonwealth Games contract opportunities, and bilateral trade opportunities across the Commonwealth.

Business Support & Access to Finance
Business Support & Access to Finance

By optimising our physical, cultural and environmental assets whilst improving our physical and digital connectivity, we aim to create inclusive and exciting places to live, work, visit and invest in across Greater Birmingham. Alongside a world class cultural offer, Greater Birmingham enhances it’s standing as a thriving and globally connected city region, with surrounding towns and local centres forming a crucial part of the economic fabric of the region.

We set out to:

  • Build on our Towns and Local Centres Framework by supporting our local authority and other partners to develop individual town and local centres plans.

  • Develop an ecosystem approach to identifying key areas for investment benefiting the whole of the GBSLEP geography.

  • Develop and implement a Cultural Action toolkit, cultural development cluster fund and cultural action zones aimed at encouraging culture-based projects to come forward for capital funding across our region.

Our Activities to support the growth of the sector during 2019/20 include:

  • Significant work was undertaken to support our towns and local centres via our Towns and Local Centres Framework which has already delivered over £500,000 of funding to support projects across the GBSLEP area.

  • Published ‘A Toolkit for Smarter Cultural Investments in our towns, cities and regions’ an independent report examining the role of public money in cultural investment.

  • Our Cultural Capacity Development Fund (CCDF) made 10 awards totalling £81,000 to support the development of place based cultural activity across GBSLEP’s geography from Jewellery Quarter Birmingham to ‘Creative Corners’ in Cannock.

Placemaking & Cultural Investment
Placemaking & Cultural Investment
Placemaking & Cultural Investment

Board Directors & LEP Executive

The team behind the success.

Board Directors*

*As of 1st October 2020

Tim Pile Chair

Chris Loughran Deputy Chair for Delivery

Anita Bhalla Creative Industries, Chair Performances Ltd

Matthew Rhodes Stimulating Innovation, Chair Energy Capital

Mike Lyons Improving Connectivity, Programme Director for West Midlands at High Speed 2 (HS2) Ltd

Sophie Drake Representing Young People, Account Manager at Story Comms

Pat Hanlon Access to Finance, Chair Finance Birmingham Investment Committee*
*resigned 3rd November 2020

Simon Marks Optimising Assets, City Executive Birmingham Arcadis*
*resigned 24th September 2020

Ewa Truchanowicz Representing SMEs, Managing Director at Dignio UK*
*appointed 31st March 2020

Christine Oates Tax Partner Deloitte*
*appointed 31st March 2020

Louise Brooke-Smith OBE Optimising Assets, International Development & Strategic Planning Advisor at Consilio Strategic Consultancy Ltd*
*appointed 23rd April 2020

Cllr Ian Ward Leader, Birmingham City Council

Cllr Karen May Leader, Bromsgrove District Council, representing North Worcestershire*
*appointed 6th June 2019

Cllr George Adamson Leader, Cannock Chase District Council

Cllr George Allen Deputy Leader (Enterprise), East Staffordshire Borough Council
*appointed 6th June 2019

Cllr Ian Courts Leader, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Jeremy Oates Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Growth, Tamworth Borough Council*
* appointed 6th June 2019

Professor Alec Cameron Higher Education Representative Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University

John Callaghan Further Education representative Principal, Solihull College & University Centre

LEP Executive*

*As of 1st October 2020

Katie Trout Director

Kate Shaw Chief Operating Officer

Dr Wayne Shand Interim Director of Economic Recovery

Edward Scutt Head of Governance

Satnam Rana-Grindley Head of Communications

Krystalla Michael Head of PMO

Kerry Billington Consultant Project Manager

Christian Cadwallader Consultant Project Manager

Avril Draper Interim Business Analyst

Sanjay Chand Interim Finance Analyst

Amanda Astley Contract and Procurement Manager

Manpreet Dhadwar Project Support Officer

Greg Raybould Project Support Officer

Mike Folkard Head of Business & Innovation

David Furmage Creative & Cultural Lead

Ellen Peacock Senior Policy Officer – Advanced Manufacturing

Alex Taylor Senior Policy Officer – Low Carbon & Environmental Technology

Hilary Smyth-Allen BPFS Sector & Modern Services Lead

Kathryn Wagstaff Senior Policy Manager (Local Industrial Strategy) – Health Technologies

Shanaaz Carroll Interim Head of Place

Christian Sayer Senior Policy Officer – Place

Sarah Hughes Senior Policy Officer – Place

Spencer Wilson Head of Skills

Ravinder Lalli Senior Policy Officer – Skills

Maria Lopez Employment & Skills Manager

Jon English Policy Officer

Zachary Barker-Williams Policy Officer

Katie Fulcher Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Natalie Benson Communications Officer

Ellie Crane Marketing Manager

Amen Lancaster Digital Marketing & Outreach Officer

Lisa Richie Finance Manager

Laura Lediard HR Manager

Helen Harper Growth Support Team Leader

Nasreen Chaudhry Growth Support Team Leader

Philippa Whitelock Finance Officer

Josh Tate Governance Officer

Keith Mitchell Finance Transformation Consultant

Fiona Tamplin Business Change Consultant

Ian McLaughlan Growth Hub Director

Simon Copeland Growth Hub Manager (Business Support)

Richard Harris CRM & Data Executive

Cora Chan Finance Manager

Daniel Degg Growth Hub Manager (Skills, Training & Apprenticeships)

Helen Birbeck Apprenticeship Advisor

Ashi Sattar Apprenticeship Advisor

Mike Whiles Skills Broker

Evelia Brown Skills Broker

David Evans Claims and Compliance Manager

Waqar Mohammed Events and Partnerships Officer

Rizwana Kausar Office Administrator

James Roberts Growth & Resilience

Charlotte Bowden Growth & Resilience

Christine Hancock Growth & Resilience

Andy Cleobury Growth & Resilience

Silvia Gaplovska Innovation

Will Broad Low Carbon

Craig O’Donnell Food & Drink

Simon Vease Social Enterprise

Richard Beason Creative & Cultural

Andrew Shortt Life Sciences & Health

Rachel Eade Rail & Advanced Manufacturing

Vernon Hogg  Access to Finance

Katherine O’Donnell  Business Professional & Financial Services

Ben Hales

Jen Campbell

Jeanette Peters

Sandra Cunningham

Klaudia Haines

Paul Basil – Outreach

Wray Bennett Aston

Governance & Accounts

GBSLEP is in receipt of material sums of public sector funding it is therefore key that it can evidence to both local, national and wider stakeholders that it has robust and transparent processes and procedures in place to deliver it’s required aims.

Key to this is the Local Assurance Framework, (which is kept under regular review to reflect changes in legislation, Central Government requirements and developments in the nature of the activities of the LEP) which sets out the role of the GBSLEP together with details of our Governance and Organisational Structure, our processes and procedures, together with how we work with our partners, to ensure that we deliver value for money for the businesses and citizens of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area. Our Assurance Framework is fully compliant with the National Local Growth Assurance Framework set out by the Government.

GBSLEP operates as a private company (limited by guarantee) in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act 2006.The GBSLEP Board consists of 19 members, with 10 from the business community, seven from the Local Authorities, one representing Further Education and one representing Higher Education.

The Board meets on a bi-monthly basis, with key board papers and decisions being made available to the public on a timely basis to aid transparency, with only a few exceptions mainly for commercial confidentiality. The Board has responsibility for strategy determination, financial approvals of a material nature and directing the activities of the LEP Executive who manage the activities of the GBSLEP on a day-to day basis. Pillar and Sub-Boards to the GBSLEP Board, together with Board Committees such as Nominations, Remuneration and Audit & Risk support the Board in its activities.

The GBSLEP’s democratic accountability is increased through the Supervisory Board consisting of the nine Local Authority Leaders or their nominated representatives who review the significant financial decisions of the GBSLEP Board and supporting activities. A Joint Scrutiny Committee established by all of the Local Authorities also reviews GBSLEP activities.

The Accountable Body for GBSLEP is Birmingham City Council (BCC). We maintain and follow Joint Working Protocols with BCC, to support the efficient running of both our activities.

Operations & Financials

2019/2020 Accounts

The figures included here are a summary of those shown in the draft statutory accounts which have been considered by the Audit & Risk Committee and have been approved by the LEP Board.  They have not yet been signed or filed with Companies House.

Birmingham City Council acted as the Accountable Body for all of the funds shown in the tables below.

No remuneration was paid to Non-Executive Directors in 2019/20 (2018/19 £nil).

The year-end of GBSLEP Ltd was changed from 31 May to 31 March as from 2019, as agreed by the LEP Board in March 2019. The 2019/20 financial accounts are therefore for the 12-months to 31 March 2020, whereas the comparative 2018/19 financial accounts are for the 10-months from 1 June 2018 to 31 March 2019.

Dains LLP was re-appointed by the LEP Board to prepare and audit the 2019/20 LEP accounts.


The income and expenditure for the period, both capital and revenue, is summarised as follows:

Capital ProgrammesRevenue Programmes & Operational Activity2019/20 (12 months)2018/2019 (10 months)
Operating (deficit) / surplus(14.8)(4.3)(19.1)(13.5)
Interest receivable00.60.61.3
(Deficit) / surplus for the period(14.8)(3.8)(18.6)(12.6)
  • The deficit after interest and tax for the year was £18.6m (2018/19 £12.6m). This is in-line with expectations and is a feature of how the LEP receives and expends money, because most government grant funding is received in advance and then paid out over several years, with the grant income accounted for in the year of receipt and the grant expenditure accounted for in the year it is expended.
  • The £1.7m increase in income compared to 2018/19 is mainly due to LGF grant income for 2018/19 (£14.5m) being received in April/May 2018 and therefore included in the 2017/18 accounts rather than in the 2018/19 accounts. This issue will no longer occur with the change of year-end to 31 March. This is offset by the lack of Business Rates Pool income being received in 2019/20 (£6.4m received in 2018/19) due to the dissolution of the Pool as from 31 March 2019.
  • The £7.3m increase in expenditure compared to 2018/19 is mainly due to the £5.8m increase in grant payments made under the LGF3 grant programme (£6.2m 19/20; £0.4m 18/19), and the £1.2m increase in the SEF revenue project grants (£2.0m 19/20: £0.8m 18/19).
  • The amount spent on LGF capital programmes and projects during the 2019/20 period (£22.2m) is similar to the previous year’s spend (£23.9m).  This leaves around £54m (2018/19 £76m) of the £186m original 6-year allocation for the remaining year of the programme. Further recruitment of Programme Delivery Team resources was achieved in 2019/20 to support a significantly increased level of forecast spend for 2020/21, the final year of the programme.
  • The amount spent on Business Rates Pool (BRP) funded “SEP Enabling Fund” revenue projects during the 2019/20 period (£2.0m 19/20; £0.8m 18/19) has been invested in a range of activity to support the LEP’s agenda. The final BRP income of £6.4m was accounted for from the Pool at the end of the financial year 2018/19 and this has supported additional intervention projects during 2019/20 and will do again in 2020/21. The Pool income is only invested in those projects that are approved through the agreed process.
  • The £0.7m reduction in interest income is due to accumulated LGF and Growing Places Fund interest from several years being transferred by the Accountable Body to the LEP last year with no equivalent this year.
  • The Corporation taxation charge has reduced by £0.3m this year as it is payable on interest received which has reduced considerably since last year, as noted above.


The balance sheet at the end of the period, which includes both capital and revenue balances, is summarised as follows:

31 March 202031 March 2019
As restated
Bank & Cash balances54.262.1
Net Assets49.668.2
Project – LGF (incl DFT and LGF3)26.642.4
Project – GPF11.711.7
Revenue – GPF0.72.5
Revenue – BRP9.211.2
Revenue – core funds1.40.4
Capital & Reserves49.668.2

The £18.6m reduction in reserves is due to:

  • £2.0m SEF revenue grant expenditure being made in 2019/20 with no new BRP income being received in the year,
  • £0.7m deficit on revenue/operational activities mainly caused by costs of moving to the new operating model and increasing costs of planning, delivering and monitoring the growing SEF revenue grants programme.
  • LGF grant expenditure in 2019/20 exceeding the LGF grant income in the year by £9.7m, as the brought forward balance of previously drawn down LGF grant income is now being used up,
  • £6.2m LGF3 grant expenditure being made in 2019/20 with all grant income being received in previous years.

Movement in Funding Sources

The movements during the year in the balance on each of the funding sources is as follows:

2019/2020 – Capital – Balance SheetGBSLEP Funds April 2019 (As restated)2019/20 Income2019/20 Expenditure2019/20 Commitments2019/20 Interest and TaxationBalance sheet transfersGBSLEP Funds March 2020
Capital Projects£m£m£m£m£m£m£m
Local Growth Fund (LGF) 1 & 2, RIF and DFT32.213.6(19.5)(2.7)0.0(1.1)22.6
Local Growth Fund (LGF) 310.20.0(2.6)(3.6)
Growing Places Fund: Capital11.
Revenue Projects
Growing Places Fund: Revenue2.50.0(0.1)0.00.0(1.8)0.7
Enabling Fund (BRP)11.20.0(1.5)(0.5)

The information in this table is included in the Annual Report as required by section 108 of the BEIS national LEP assurance framework.

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