CBI boss to launch Birmingham design expo as region provide model for growth

TOP business boss John Cridland, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will the launch the second Birmingham Made Me design expo on June 6.


Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University, said he was delighted to be welcoming John Cridland to the expo which is being organised by the University and its city partners.

Midlands business leaders will join John Cridland and Professor Allan to consider ways to boost economic growth by drawing on creativity and design-driven innovation.

John Cridland, who is set to focus on the opportunity for private sector-led regeneration, has previously highlighted the economic conundrum we face – both regionally and nationally.

He said: “Our economy is moving, albeit slowly, from a decade of debt- driven growth – which was entirely dependent on household and public consumption – toward an economy where business, investment and trade are the primary engines of growth.

“Re-balancing from debt to investment is like detoxing. It’s a painful transition and it takes time and supervision with many short-term calculated risks for long-term benefit.”

The CBI recently highlighted the importance of exports in its publication, The Only Way is Exports, revealing the need for creating and producing desirable and well-designed good for growing overseas markets.

“This is exactly what we are doing in the Midlands and the Birmingham Made Me design expo aims to showcase this success story, ” said Beverley Nielsen, Director Employer Engagement at Birmingham City University and the mastermind behind the Birmingham expo.

Looking for Growth, a recent report published by Beverley Nielsen as part of the Birmingham City University business think-tank Idea Birmingham, has revealed that those regional companies which placed more emphasis on design and innovation were also more likely to produce products and services that could be more readily exported.

“In fact, those companies where design was most integrated within their culture and strategy were exporting 80 per cent of their turnover on average,” said Beverley Nielsen.

“These companies were also the most successful employers, creating more jobs in the past year and earning more money in sales and profits.”

Joining John Cridland at the inaugural session on June 6 will be a prestigious panel, including Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, Paul Thandi, Chief Executive NEC Group, and thought leaders from think tank Centre for Cities.

“Drawing on the insights and knowledge of Centre for Cities the expert panel will assess how, by working together in partnership, we can take control of our own destiny in Birmingham and the Midlands,” said Beverley Nielsen.

“And through this city-region partnership, how we can drive economic growth, build on the knowledge transfer opportunities and collaborative networks within our higher and further education institutions to create our own innovation eco-systems and re-balance our regional economy.

“Ultimately we need to harness the energy of the recently formed LEPs to promote a greater awareness of the successes and achievements being created within brand-led businesses in the West Midlands.”