Colors: Purple Color

West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton today launched his report aimed at tackling non-tariff barriers within the EU at a public hearing in the European Parliament. The draft report highlights areas where small businesses trying to trade in another member state still face unfair discrimination and barriers to entry that favour existing market players. It was welcomed by small business associations, including the FSB, as a positive step forward in helping SMEs to trade on a more level playing field.

Small businesses that work with Birmingham City Council and other organisations have been recognised for the efforts they make to operate in an ethical and socially responsible way. A total of 37 organisations were awarded the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility during a ceremony on January 7. Of those given the honour, 20 were SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) – and received praise from senior city councillors for the positive example they are setting for businesses large and small.

People planning to retire in the coming 12 months expect to receive an annual income of £17,700 – the third annual increase in a row – according to the latest research by Prudential1, a leading provider of pension saving and retirement income solutions. Each year Prudential conducts unique research into the financial plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead.

Work has begun on construction of the new Wolverhampton Coach Link as part of the city’s multi-million Interchange plans. City of Wolverhampton Council announced at the end of October that it had been granted £500,000 by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the development of a new coach facility and related works. Wolverhampton Coach Link will be based in Bilston Street and will make use of the now redundant side of the St George’s Metro stop.

Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd based in Darlaston, Wednesbury, are the latest company to join The Platinum Group, part of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce. Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd is a family business established over 131 years ago and has a rich heritage, having employed thousands of people across the globe. It has been involved in many interesting projects such as the famous BRM racing team and the development of Donald Campbell’s Bluebird.

City of Wolverhampton’s Westside development opportunity has attracted strong initial interest from some of the UK’s leading developers and investors. With less than a week remaining until the deadline for expressions of interest more than 30 requests for detailed information have been made. City of Wolverhampton Council’s project team have also held meetings with several interested parties through ‘meet the team’ events.

Charities across the Midlands are to receive support from teams of business people as the Weston Charity Awards expand to the region following its success in the North. The Garfield Weston Foundation says it is determined to help more charities become more effective and resilient as the current economic climate continues to hit front-line charities across the country.  

Some of Sandwell's biggest employers are to be given the chance to talk to council chiefs on how money is spent on local authority services. The consultation will also include business organisations, as well as groups representing local firms and the voluntary sector. The meeting will give businesses a chance to give feedback to the council on its spending proposals for the next financial year.

The deadline to enter the 2016 RICS West Midlands Awards – which are widely regarded as the regional property ‘Oscars’ - has been extended to Friday 22 January 2016. The annual awards celebrate the region’s most inspirational built initiatives and developments that provide real value to the communities they serve. In the past winners have included small projects achieved by the vision of one person, to globally recognised developments with significant budgets.

China’s blue chip shares rebounded  after the top securities regulator said it would keep in place a selling ban that was soon to expire. While economic news had been the main reason the CSI300 Index plunged 7% on Monday, triggering circuit breakers that shut down the market for the day, the selling ban on major shareholders of large corporations had been blamed as a secondary reason. The ban had been put into place to arrest the stock market rout last summer.

A 2,500 sq ft Digital Health incubator will be featured within Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip® Smart City Incubator in the new £8m iCentrum® building. The NHS-funded West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has signed up as the partner to deliver the new challenge-led facility, enabling tech start-ups to access the region’s network of NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet members will be online this week to answer budget consultation questions in a special two-hour webcast. The 2016+ budget consultation was launched last month and residents are now being urged to have their say on the proposals before consultation closes on January 8. City council leader Councilor John Clancy and his cabinet answered questions in two public meetings and a webcast before Christmas.

Two leading figures in the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) in Birmingham have received awards in the New Year’s Honours. Nasir Awan, the ABCC’s chairman, and its vice-president Aftab Chughtai have both received MBEs. Mr Awan (pictured), chief executive of Awan Marketing International plc, received the award for services to business and international trade and Mr Chughtai’s MBE was for services to business and community relations in Birmingham.

Nearly 30 buses in Birmingham will be fitted with green technology to cut harmful emissions by up to 90%, after a successful bid for £486,000 of funding was announced today. The Clean Bus Technology Fund 2015 is being awarded to 18 local authorities across England to retrofit buses with technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in pollution hotspots. Due to their high mileage and long operational life, introducing greener buses can significantly help air quality in town and city centres.