Collaboration, confidence and pride – how the Commonwealth Games can put the region on the map

With a little over 12 months until Birmingham plays host to the Commonwealth Games and the city prepares showcase itself and the wider region to the world, Alex Turner from hosted a session at Invest Midlands looking at looked at what it means to the region.

Speaking about what is exciting about the Games coming to Birmingham, Dan Storer, chief investment officer, West Midlands Growth Company, said: “I think it’s the opportunity to raise the regional ambition levels even further, when it comes to international engagement. One of the challenges we’ve got around all of, is that the UK is so dominated by London and the southeast, and that it filters through really to how the UK is talked about, you know, in India, for example, the UK is often referred to as London.”

He went on to add that through the concept of a global Britain there is an opportunity for the regions to step up more “assertively” to the international stage and the Games will help the Midlands do that.

Richard Eadie, head of strategy, sustainability and group transformation at Severn Trent followed this by stating he believes that what’s most exciting about the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham is the sense of pride it will instil into the region and noted that the sense of connection between the population and the region could be an “amazing legacy” for the event.

Picking up on the connection point Gurmit Kler, director of business engagement at the University of Birmingham added that for her the Games offers an exciting opportunity to collaborate. She explained how hosting the event is that it is enabling different partners and organisations to come together but also acting as a “catalyst for everybody to get excited about.”

She added that really the opportunities being the host city provides are numerous and that right now the region “desperately” needs them right now, “just because of the climate and what we’ve been through over the last year”.

She finished by explaining it provides as Storer said a chance to show the world the strengths of Birmingham and its great assets and to do it with a shared voice.

Lastly Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gave two answers to what’s most exciting. The first he explained was the chance to see the region “come to life” as he explained he doesn’t think people fully understand “the scale of what’s coming to town next summer and the huge celebration that will be in the city”. He noted that even if you can’t get tickets to the events there’ll be a lot to do and he’s looking forward to the hospitality sector which was hit hard by the pandemic having a “boom time over the summer of 2022”.

Reid added that in the longer term looking ahead four or five years he’s excited to see the changes the Games has brought in terms of a legacy. He said he hopes future projects across the Midlands can use the Games as a template for collaboration “in terms of getting both the public and private sector working together”. He also added that the legacy activity brought about by the games relating to sustainability, cultural legacy, health and wellbeing, or business and tourism, “there’s a huge amount going on” and hopefully he finished the Games can be “a seminal moment” that really puts the city on the international map.

Turner, concluded the most important thing for the region, whether as an individual or as a business was to “get involved” and not let it pass you by.

Click here to view the full session:

Invest Midlands is a one-day virtual conference bringing together business and policy leaders to set the agenda for what comes next in the region.

The event has been curated by and backed by a broad coalition of organisations spanning the public and private sectors, led by EY, Shakespeare Martineau, Lloyds Bank, and Impact Data Metrics.

Find out more about the event here.

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