Birmingham is shining bright… and it’s not just the 30 degrees of sunshine. Courtesy of the West Midlands Growth Company, I attended the Legacy Day of the #B2022 Commonwealth Games on Monday. As well as watching Australia win men’s hockey gold, we were treated to various sessions from leaders and institutions across Birmingham and the West Midlands on the legacy of the games and what the city region has to offer businesses and people. Here’s my reflections from the day:
- Common Wealth: The Commonwealth games had me contemplating the words ‘common wealth’, which led me to think about the levelling up agenda and what progress was really being made here. Birmingham and the West Midlands are taking this very seriously and have deliberately built in regeneration and levelling up into their investment in the games. But it also goes beyond that. The University of Birmingham is a civic university proud of and committed to its ‘education for all’ ethos. The Combined Authority is also working closely with business to provide training programmes to those that are out of work with the aim of upskilling and securing employment for them. I genuinely got a sense of a region committed to improving the life for everyone.
- Street Wise: Leadership is so important for any team, business or organisation embarking on a growth journey. The Birmingham City Region is fortunate to have Andy Street as Mayor. He came across as passionate, inclusive and ambitious, with an energy and aura that emboldens others and creates a real sense of belief.
- Teamwork makes the dream work: Its no surprise to me why Birmingham was awarded the Games and how they delivered it so well in such a short space of time. You could sense the pride in the place by the volunteers at the stadium – this wasn’t put on or false, it was sheer enthusiasm and pride in welcoming and showcasing the real Birmingham to the world. And it also shone through in the companies, institutions and organisations that came together to delivery the games and are invested in the long term future and prosperity of the region. I sensed a genuine respect for each others role and contributions and a truly collegiate and collaborative environment across what can be complicated public, private and political agendas.
I really look forward to seeing how Birmingham and the WM region drive on from here and continues to grow. With a young population and a plan built on the region’s traditional strengths intertwined with the industries of tomorrow, its has a bright future ahead.
OCO is delighted to be working with the West Midlands Growth Company supporting a number of its exporters on an enhanced export programme as part of the Business and Tourism programme of the Commonwealth Games.
Well done Birmingham for lighting up the UK and representing it so wonderfully on the global stage over the last couple of weeks.