Advantage West Midlands has been working alongside Warwick Science Park, EBS, UK Trade and Investment, Handelsbanken, Radisson SAS, Martineau Johnson, Tenon, Rowan and British Embassies in Sweden and Finland to create the Bridge to Growth project.
The project has worked to promote the region to more than 4,000 firms in Finland and Sweden over the past four months and offers free access to tax, banking and legal advice, market analysis, sales development and office accommodation.
Advantage West Midlands (advantagewm.co.uk) is involved in an ongoing campaign of inward investment with companies across the world and has a network of offices in the USA (Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and San Jose), Japan, India, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden and Belgium.
The West Midlands is home to around 2,300 foreign-owned firms employing more than 250,000 people – around one in ten of the region’s workforce.
In total there are 21 Finnish companies in the West Midlands, employing around 900 staff, and 63 Swedish companies employing more than 5,000 workers.
Bridge to Growth is the first time in the UK that partners have worked together to target inward investment from a specific region.
During the tour, the 17 companies were shown the facilities at Warwick Science Park by Chief Executive David Rowe and also visited the Birmingham offices of Martineau Johnson where meetings were held with all Bridge to Growth partners.
Richard Butler, Advantage West Midlands Head of Inward Investment, said: “While the West Midlands is home to more than 80 companies from Finland and Sweden, we believe there is strong potential for even more investment from that part of the world.
“Our team in Sweden and Finland have targeted more than 4,000 companies and then held relocation seminars at the UK Embassies for each country.
“The more companies that expand into the West Midlands, the more the region benefits in terms of jobs created - which is why the team-work put in by our Bridge to Growth partners is so important.
“We are very confident that, as a result of the Bridge to Growth project, we will successfully increase the number of Nordic SMEs in the West Midlands and they, in turn, will promote the region as a world-class place to invest.
“The West Midlands has enjoyed two highly successful years in terms of the inward investment we have been able to attract and we are confident projects such as Bridge to Growth will enable us to continue this run of success.”
In August, Advantage West Midlands announced that for the financial year 2005-2006, a total of 4,418 jobs were created as a result of inward investment and a further 8,365 safeguarded in the region.
Advantage West Midlands (advantagewm.co.uk) was involved in projects which saw 2,534 jobs created and 3,634 safeguarded.