The West Midlands will have two years in the international spotlight – and that will mean major opportunities for Coventry and Warwickshire businesses to help grow the regional economy.
That was the clear message at a business briefing organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.
The event, which preceded the Chamber’s Trade Local Business & Trade Expo at NAEC Stoneleigh, attracted 300 business people from across the region to hear about the contracts that are available now and will be coming soon and crucially, how to tender for them.
The briefing was hosted by Olympic bronze medallist Katharine Merry and attendees also heard from Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership; Ian Reid, the CEO of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee and Neil Carney, project director for Birmingham City Council.
A panel briefing also included Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and Rebecca Battman, head of brand at RBL – the first major organising committee contractor.
Louise said: “It is great to see the team behind Birmingham 2022 coming out to engage with businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and presenting to them the opportunities that are available.
“It was very clear to our local SME community that there will be opportunities for them to tender for contracts and it is up to all of us to make the most of that.
“With UK City of Culture in Coventry in 2021 followed by the Commonwealth Games in the region in 2022, it presents a fantastic opportunity for our area and our businesses.
“I was out at MIPIM, where cities and regions from all over the world are competing and trying to sell themselves to potential global investors.
“The fact that we have these incredible events coming to our region in 2021 and 2022 provided a real selling point for us and it is a great way of generating a buzz around Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider region.”
Following his presentation, Ian Reid said: “I was delighted to see so many businesses from across the region at Stoneleigh. I’d like to thank the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for providing us with this excellent chance to explain the opportunities that will be available, the timescales for those opportunities and the benefits that hosting the Games will bring to the entire region.
“We know that local businesses have local passion. They are hugely invested in making the Games a success, so we very much want to harness that passion and use it to ensure the Games has an even greater impact.”
Katharine Merry, who was born in Warwickshire, spoke about her experiences as a young athlete growing up in the region, of her international athletics career and of her recent experiences of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and on the Gold Coast, where she was part of the BBC commentary team.
After hosting the business briefing she said: “I used to prepare to perform and now it’s the region’s turn to prepare to perform. Birmingham 2022 brings with it some exciting opportunities for local businesses and following this briefing, the companies that attended now know exactly what they need to do, if they want to be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Companies can register now on the Birmingham 2022 business portal at www.birmingham2022.com/businessportal