Birmingham City Council, as part of a 5-year PURE COSMOS Interreg Europe funded programme hosted a technical workshop with key stakeholders and experts from Barcelona and Genoa to help shape the development of new solutions and policies that will form part of a regional action plan for Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to help accelerate SME growth and productivity.
Funded by Interreg Europe, the PURE COSMOS project (Public authorities Role Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs) has enabled Birmingham City Council to share learning, knowledge and study Good Practices with partners from Italy, Hungary, Germany, UK, Greece, Czech Republic and Spain to find new ways to tackle challenges to improve the effectiveness of public-sector support and services to enhance SMEs competitiveness.
The West Midlands £92bn economy has grown by 20% in last 5 year but this new phase of growth will be shaped by funding changes, Brexit and global economic uncertainty. The local industrial strategy being developed by the GBSLEP is helping prepare the region and set out how investment – public and private – will deliver growth in the coming years. The PURE COSMOS regional action plan has prioritised a number of key challenges to support the Industrial Strategy and set out a number of actions to take to dive future long term success.
Stakeholders from GBSLEP, Innovation Alliance, University of Birmingham, Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Birmingham City Council met with experts from Barcelona and Genoa specialising in open innovation and technology and professional services to take a deep dive into challenge areas of inclusive business growth, simplification of regulatory services and public procurement of innovation.
An amazon style approach to simplifying regulatory compliance and using the 2022 Commonwealth Games as an exemplar approach was one of the key take away opportunities for further development alongside looking at how we can use data more effectively for regional economic forecasting that will identify early warning signs of downturns in sector growth and indicators of SME performance to enable improved and more timely business support interventions.
With a the huge drive for public sector reform, smart innovation and procurement are key enablers and the action plan will look at how Birmingham City Council and wider Combined Authority will create the ecosytems and mechanism to enable that change.
Raj Mack, Head of Business Engagement, Birmingham City Council said:
“A joint procurement strategy and pooling of budgets to develop joint innovation bids and partnerships investing in gov tech accelerators to target specific challenges are key pipeline developments. And the recent UK award of £50M for the first UK 5G test bed in the West Midlands will create new opportunities for SMEs to work with the public sector to develop new services and the first 5G games!”
A draft action plan is being produced in December 2018 and this will be reviewed with key stakeholders and SMEs prior to final plan end of March 2019.
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