Winning bids to drive millions in Midlands investment


International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP has announced three new High Potential Opportunities (HPO) areas.

The High Potential Opportunities Scheme is part of the International Trade Secretary’s drive to secure new investment into the Midlands. Earlier this year, Dr Fox announced more than £30 billion worth of investment-ready projects, of which nearly £11 billion are in the Midlands.

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) global network – based in 177 cities around the world – will now contact investors to promote the opportunities and attract top global investment into the Midlands.

The scheme, coordinated by DIT, identifies opportunities to attract foreign direct investment into emerging sectors, regions and clusters – creating new jobs and growth in every corner of the UK.

The recent round of successful HPO bids will see:

  • Leamington Spa’s gaming industry in Warwickshire bolstered
  • Leicestershire’s leading space sector strengthened through satellite production and earth observation technologies
  • greater opportunities for Worcestershire technology companies to increase and innovate their data security capabilities

International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade Dr Liam Fox MP said: “The High Potential Opportunities scheme will deliver growth where it is most needed, ensuring that the benefits of global investment are felt in every part of the UK. I am delighted to be able to announce that Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Worcestershire have all been successful in their bids.

“My international economic department is very much looking forward to working with local partners, including the Local Enterprise Partnerships, on securing the right investment for these exciting opportunities.

DIT works directly with companies in 60 countries around the world. Last year, DIT supported 1,682 investment projects which created or safeguarded 81,206 jobs in the UK. Of this, 196 investment projects were supported across the Midlands, safeguarding 298 local jobs.

Dr Fox also announced a second international trade summer school, to run in summer 2019. This follows the success of this year’s National Trade Academy Programme summer school. Applications will open in February 2019.

Dr Fox awarded nine Board of Trade Awards (BOFTAs), to Midlands companies for their excellence in international trade, demonstrating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

The BOFTA winners are:

  • innovative clothing company worn by NASA astronauts – Armadillo Merino
  • specialist international SEO knowledge provider – Hallam Internet
  • medical firm Morningside Pharmaceuticals
  • manufacturer of gripping aids the Active Hands Group
  • health and beauty business Body Care Brand Development, based in Coventry
  • crime response service provider Arquebus Solutions in Coventry
  • incinerator manufacturer Addfield Environmental Systems
  • forensic, cyber and criminal intelligence company Forensic Pathways
  • additive technology firm Addmaster


Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted that Worcestershire’s 5G industry 40 pilot and expertise has been recognised as a High Potential Opportunity. At a critical time for national inward investment, Worcestershire is leading on 5G progress and seeing an increase in investor interest. Our business community is continuing to innovate and thrive, and our developments of 5G applications are already capturing the attention of investors on a global scale. We look forward to maximising this momentum with the Department for International Trade.”

Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “It is fantastic news that Warwickshire has been successful in its bid to become a High Potential Opportunities area because there is a greater chance of attracting new investors.

“This decision by the Department for International Trade shows the region is being recognised at the highest level and is testament to the innovative work of businesses in the gaming industry in an area known as Silicon Spa.

“Warwickshire’s global reputation for its expertise in a rapidly-expanding sector is growing all the time because of the world-wide success of the area’s creative and digital companies and Coventry and Warwickshire’s success as a leading location for foreign investment.

“The latest figures revealed more than 3,500 new jobs have been secured in the region in the last 12 months by attracting inward investment.

“Now that Warwickshire has been announced as a High Potential Opportunities area, there will be an opportunity to attract world-wide investment which will further boost the region’s economy and create new jobs.”