The vital part West Midlands Growth Hubs have to play in ensuring businesses access the supply chain for the largest infrastructure project in Europe was discussed at a virtual webinar.
HS2 is due to open between 2028 and 2031 with Phase One connecting the West Midlands and London which is underway and being built, supporting 9,000 jobs nationwide.
The West Midlands Combined Authority hosted a Mayoral and HS2 Supply Chain Summit for SMEs to highlight the supply chain opportunities that are available to businesses across the region.
These include companies specialising in landscaping, waste management, office stationery and equipment, and general signage as well as security, electrical products and fire protection products.
Over 800 businesses signed-up for the session which included West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, to give a strategic overview of HS2 and the importance of the project to the region’s post-Covid-19 recovery plans.
Phil Peak, operations director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, spoke on behalf of the Growth Hubs in Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull and the Black Country.
“A large proportion of the £100 billion budget to construct the new railway will make its way to the supply chain which will provide massive opportunities for thousands of businesses,” he said.
“These contracts will stretch far beyond the traditional rail industry and offer a real opportunity for companies looking to diversify as part of their recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This webinar was a great opportunity to engage with businesses and help them capitalise on the work presented by HS2 and wider projects such as Coventry being UK City of Culture 2021, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and major regeneration schemes.
“As well as emphasising the support available to businesses of all sizes in all sectors from Growth Hubs throughout the West Midlands, it was an ideal platform to highlight the Finditin websites which are across the region including Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham, the Black Country and Worcestershire as well as the Birmingham 2022 business portal.
“It is staggering that there has been over £25.9 billion of contracts published so far in 2020 on these portals.
“Since we launched FinditinCW in April, we have signed up just under 1,700 businesses and have posted £14 billion of opportunities to date.
“We are keen to spread the message that these are important portals to join – it is free to register – so that we maximise the number of businesses that can benefit from the work available in the upcoming HS2 supply chain and how they can become part of it.
“HS2 will provide unprecedented opportunities and we want businesses, particularly SMEs, to know what to do to meet the procurement criteria and be awarded the contracts which are available in a wide range of sectors.”
FinditinCW was launched by the CWLEP Growth Hub in partnership with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to give businesses access to private and public sector contracts and link-up buyers with suppliers in a variety of sectors.