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Record job numbers for thriving Midlands; INVESTMENT.

Byline: By John Cranage Business Staff

A record number of jobs have been created or safeguarded in the West Midlands as a result of foreign investment over three years, regional development agency Advantage West Midlands will report today.

It follows the launch of a marketing campaign to boost the profile of the region.

Figures show for the financial year 2006/07, 2,500 jobs were created in the West Midlands as a result of inward investment.

A further 11,996 existing jobs were safeguarded as a result of the inflow of foreign capital.

Advantage West Midlands, which has the job of working overseas to promote the region and generate investment, was directly involved in projects that saw 1,879 jobs created and 211 safeguarded.

The figures mean that in the three years since the launch of the West Midlands Regional Marketing Campaign, some 11,364 jobs have been created or safeguarded by AWM - the best three-year series since the organisation was established in 1999.

The campaign is aiming to improve perceptions of the region internationally, focusing on the West Midlands' strengths as a place to do business.

Taxis presenting the message to business people in Paris, Brussels and Gothenburg will soon be appearing as the latest phase of the campaign.

Among recent projects involving the agency were the opening of the State Bank of India in Birmingham, initially creating 11 jobs, the opening of the Airbus UK plant in Bickenhill, Birmingham, creating 220 research and development jobs, and the creation of 70 jobs at Sega Europe in Solihull.

The organisation, which negotiates with businesses throughout the world, has offices in Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and San Jose in the US as well as in Japan, India, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden and Belgium.

Chief executive John Edwards said: "Inward investment is a crucial element in the economic performance of our region and Advantage West Midlands' role in both encouraging investment and promoting the region is paying dividends.

"There is intense competition within the UK to encourage foreign-owned firms to locate in a given region and then to stay, consolidate and expand there.

"Our regional marketing work - created to position our region 'at the heart of it all' - is working to change perceptions of the West Midlands across Europe and beyond and I am particularly pleased to see international names such as Airbus, Alstom and Sega making important investments here.

"Our region is home to around 2,300 foreign-owned enterprises employing more than 250,000 people - around one tenth of the region's workforce.

"Overseas companies continue, quite rightly, to view the West Midlands as a place where manufacturing and engineering thrives, supported by investment in research and development facilities and an increasingly powerful regional image.

"We know the West Midlands is the best place in the world to do business. It is clear from these three-year figures that the rest of the world is increasingly realising it as well."

johncranage@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

David Fisken, AWM inward investment manager for Asia Pacific, and chief executive John Edwards with the taxis soon to be used to promote the region as a place to do business across Europe
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 10, 2007
Words:526
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