Wolverhampton Business Week sparks China visit opportunity

Business Breakfast keynote speakers Stewart Towe, Peter Cornforth and City of Wolverhampton Council Managing Director Keith Ireland with host Declan Curry stood behind council leader, Cllr Roger Lawrence (front)

A City of Wolverhampton Council delegation will head to China later this month after forging international links during Wolverhampton Business Week.

Civic and business leaders from Anqing last week spent three days in Wolverhampton where they were shown around the i54 site, Tata Steel in Wednesfield, and Marston’s Brewery in the city centre.

The delegation also attended a number of Business Week events and met with city business leaders.

During the week a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a City Partnership’ was signed between the two cities.

As part of a Midlands Engine for Growth contingent, council leaders will now be flying out to China for five days on October 30.

They will visit Anqing to further develop business relationships and highlight Wolverhampton investment opportunities, as well as promote the city at a major business conference in Shanghai.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said:

“There is currently £3.7 billion of investment on site or planned in Wolverhampton.

“We are eager to showcase the investment opportunities available in the city and Business Week has helped put Wolverhampton on the global map.

“It has been good to hear from several high-profile business figures how the city is delivering for them.

“Most importantly, Business Week has helped highlight how local businesses and people are genuinely benefitting from Wolverhampton’s economic growth.”

The message that Wolverhampton is open for business was highlighted to a Business Breakfast audience of around 200, at GTG Training Academy, as keynote speakers issued rallying calls at the week’s flagship event.

Benson Elliot, owners of the Mander Shopping Centre, are investing £35 million in its redevelopment in a huge commitment to the city’s future. Their Director of Retail, Peter Cornforth said: “Shout from the rooftops, Wolverhampton is open for business and is making it happen, invest in Wolverhampton.”

Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman, Stewart Towe, added: “Wolverhampton is most definitely making an impact and is key in the Midlands Engine, which can create 300,000 jobs over the next 15 years.”

The opportunities for local businesses were brought into focus at a Meet the Buyer Breakfast event attended by more than 300 delegates.

Urban & Civic, preferred developer for a £55 million Westside leisure-led mixed use scheme at the heart of the city, connected with Wolverhampton suppliers

Philip Leech, Urban & Civic Property Director, said:

“We want to meet local businesses and engage with them and the skills sector in Wolverhampton so we can leverage all the value of the multi-million pound Westside scheme for the city.

“Business Week has endorsed what we initially thought about Wolverhampton when we first met council officers – it is a very can-do place, it’s very pro-business and people are incredibly enthusiastic and friendly.”

Business Week wrapped up with Wolverhampton Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) pitching their ideas to a panel of experienced business professionals and partners in the Wolves’ Den at Molineux Football Stadium in a bid to earn £10,000 of support and advice from KPMG.

The two winning companies will be announced later this week.

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