The Midlands is the fastest growing regional economy outside London and the South East according to Beauhurst’s MICRA report

Recently we have seen some interesting, positive and buoying reports relating to pretty decent economic activity in the East Midlands and particularly Nottingham. EY’s 2021 UK Attractiveness Survey showed that Nottingham successfully landed 10 Foreign Direct Investment projects against a 10 year average of 4. We have seen in Beauhurst’s MICRA report that the Midlands is the fastest growing regional economy outside London and the South East. In the last 10 years companies in Nottinghamshire have received £323m in equity investment (for Midlands context Leicestershire businesses received £202m and Derbyshire £66m in the same period) and the University of Nottingham has the third highest number of spinouts in the Midlands. We are seeing a visible representation of Nottingham stakeholders’ commitment to our ongoing growth with developments such as Unity Square and the Island Quarter, and 11 Station Street giving us things to be excited about. So how do we make sure we don’t lose momentum and use all of this to our best advantage?

Throughout the pandemic we have monitored which of our local businesses have thrived either despite the pandemic or because of the pandemic. We looked at our strategy and made changes so that we were planning enough to support these businesses to maintain their growth trajectory. Strands of our work include providing relevant and tangible support to SMEs under the ESIF project with information around fundraising, access to talent and the importance of diversity in the workplace. We are delighted to galvanise our businesses’ successes, the impact of which are felt by the city. Our team is working with developers and the City Council to shape and promote key development sites which are vital factors in our future growth and we are proactively supportive of our stakeholders’ campaigns – we are more effective when we work together. We are keen to promote Nottingham’s assets from the new Nottingham Trent University Dryden Enterprise Centre, to Nottingham’s incredible gigabit connectivity, and will have a virtual presence at regional, national and international events for proactive lead generation.

There is always more to do. According to Beauhurst 59% of Nottingham’s active companies are SMEs and 0.8% of the active companies fall into the High Growth category. For context this is marginally higher than the much bigger hub of Birmingham for example, which of its active companies 58% are SMEs and 0.5% are High Growth. There is evidence to suggest that High Growth companies and spinouts in particular have significantly greater demand for seed and venture capital than there is supply so we are keen to understand if there is a role for us here in coordinating a strategy around this. Similarly, we have on our radar the development of a ‘soft landing’ package for new investors, and what shape that might take in acceptance of today’s hybrid and remote working arrangements. We are always interested to hear from members with any thoughts on our collective efforts to support the growth of the local economy, ways in which you can be involved or if we can do something to support your own business’s growth. Please contact as we would be glad to hear from you.

Emma Smith
Market Intelligence and Strategy Development, Invest in Nottingham