Midlands Engine ‘joins the dots’ in trade meeting with Irish counterparts

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Members of the Midlands Engine team met with a delegation from the South West of Ireland this week for the launch of the British Embassy’s programme Joining the Dots.

A total of 45 companies and organisations representing a variety of sectors, including agri-tech, ICT, cyber, precision engineering and manufacturing, and financial services met at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry.

The visit follows an initial meeting in Ireland in November 2018 with the Cork Chamber.

As part of the partnership an agreement was signed between MTC and the Irish Manufacturing Research group.

A report by Joining the Dots has made recommendations to promote stronger partnerships and collaboration between the two regions.

It suggests that putting the Midlands at the heart of the UK’s global-facing economy is a key part of the Government’s Midlands Engine strategy to boost prosperity and economic growth.

Last week, the Department for International Trade announced 6,867 new jobs have been created across the Midlands by 234 foreign direct investment projects in 2018/19.

“The South West of Ireland and the Midlands share interests in fast growing sectors such as manufacturing and IT and today’s visit, with the signing of an MoU between the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the Irish Manufacturing Research, is a true representation of these shared interests,” said Karen Ball, Head of DIT’s Midlands Engine Investment Hub.

The delegation met with local businesses and stakeholders in the Midlands to learn more about scaling in the Midlands as well as investing and buying in the UK regions.

They also made study tours of Malvern Science Park and Harper Adams University, a specialist institution for rural and agriculture studies.

“I hope to see many more visits like today’s and with the UK launch of Joining the Dots initiative I am confident that our two regions will continue to work closely to find new partnerships and collaborations to boost economic growth and innovation,” added Ball.

The trip was also an opportunity for Midlands businesses to meet South West Ireland businesses and decision makers involved in the Irish Government’s €116bn development programme.

Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland said: “The report launch is the next stage in our Joining the Dots journey and builds on the enthusiasm shown at the Irish launch in Cork last year. For companies in the South West of Ireland, the report highlights that the UK remains a key target market with untapped opportunities.”