West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has headed off on a transatlantic trade mission to beat the drum for the region with North American investors, business leaders and tourist chiefs.
With the Commonwealth Games less than 70 days away, the week-long trip to the USA and Canada will see the Mayor visit Chicago before travelling to Toronto where he will lead a West Midlands showcase event featuring the arrival in the city of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
The trade mission has been organised as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), the first accredited Commonwealth Games programme of its kind.
The Mayor will be joined by a number of leading West Midlands business and tourism figures including Birmingham-born celebrity chef, Glynn Purnell. They will be aiming to offer up the perfect recipe for North American investors and companies looking to expand into the West Midlands or establish trade links.
They will also be out to attract more tourists to come and experience the region’s wide range of cultural attractions as it gears up to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer. The US leg of the trip will also see the Mayor visit the Chicago offices of prominent businesses operating in the West Midlands to discuss growth and investment plans.
This includes Mondelez International, owner of Cadbury; Kagool, a leading global data and analytics specialist headquartered in Coventry and professional services company Accenture, where discussions will take place on growing the firm’s capabilities in the West Midlands, with a particular focus on driving innovation in the financial services and digital manufacturing sectors.
The Toronto showcase is expected to be the highlight of the mission with Michelin starred Glynn on hand to cook up dishes that capture the very best of West Midlands cuisine including one of his signature dishes - Monkfish Masala.
The Mayor said: “A key part of my role as Mayor is to ‘bang the drum’ for our region and win the best possible investment for the people of the West Midlands.
“That’s why we are visiting these important North American cities to offer up the ‘perfect recipe’ – with the help of our hometown celebrity chef Glynn Purnell – to prospective investors, with the added excitement of the Queen’s Baton Relay on display at our Toronto showcase. We want to attract unparalleled levels of trade, investment and tourism into the West Midlands and we will be working hard during our time in these countries to do exactly that. With the West Midlands hosting the Commonwealth Games this summer, there is no better time to be pitching our region to the world.”
Glynn added: “I am extremely honoured to have been invited to partake in this fantastic opportunity, off the back of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme, to truly fly the flag for our amazing city and incredible region.
“I can’t wait to showcase what our thriving city already offers and also highlight the potential for more development. I look forward to sharing our diverse culinary offer and of course our Brummie humour and unmistakable accent!”
The BATP is being delivered by a range of regional and national partners including the West Midlands Growth Company, Visit Britain and the Department for International Trade. It has been designed to capitalise on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games by embedding positive perceptions of the West Midlands into the international imagination, driving long-term economic benefits across the region and fostering civic pride.
Focusing on tourism, trade and investment, the three-year programme is helping to catalyse the West Midlands’ growth strategy, cementing the region, and wider UK, as a globally sought-after location to visit, invest and live in. While the Mayor is in Chicago and Toronto other members of the trade mission will be visiting New York, Washington and Montreal.