Colors: Purple Color

John Tew, former President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Sandwell College’s Board of Governors, has been appointed lead in increasing influence across the region. In response to the appointment he said: “This is a great opportunity to align all the great activity that is happening across the region.”

How many kids do you know who start their own company at the age of just 12? Not many. That makes Jaylen Bledsoe of Hazelwood, Missouri, is not only unique but also one of the youngest entrepreneurs. He began his company, Bledsoe Technologies, when he was 12 years old. With a dream and $100, he began marketing his technology services, and within two years he had 150 contractors working for him.

A 2,500 sq ft Intelligent Mobility incubator is the first confirmed quarter of Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip space within the new £8m iCentrum® building. Centro – the region’s public transport co-ordinator – and the Transport Systems Catapult, which is the UK’s innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, have both signed up as joint partners for the specialist centre. It will launch when iCentrum®, located off the A38M Aston Expressway, opens in March 2016.

A major new business has opened in Wolverhampton with 80 per cent of the initial workforce recruited from the city. Wiggle, the UK's biggest online cycle and tri sports retailer, moved its distribution centre to Bilston earlier this year and has been working with Wolverhampton City Council, the City of Wolverhampton College and JobCentre Plus to fill some of the 140 warehouse roles it has created.

Almost 40 SMEs in Wolverhampton have benefitted from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) cash as part of a Black Country scheme to help them expand. The Black Country GOLD initiative has been led by Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils, and the University of Wolverhampton.

Tesco is to introduce a brand new audio voice to its self-service and scan as you shop checkouts following feedback from customers.   Friendlier, more helpful and less talkative, the machines will no longer alert customers with the infamous phrase, 'unexpected item in the bagging area'. Introduced in 2003, Tesco now has over 12,000 self-service checkouts which play a crucial role for busy shoppers up and down the UK.

After 137 years of being based in its historic workplace in Birmingham’s Newhall Street, Assay Office Birmingham is now safely re-established and up and running in its new specialised contemporary headquarters in Moreton Street. It required many years of searching for a suitable site, deliberating what was required and planning a purpose-built facility to enable the Assay Office to develop new opportunities. This week, that vision has become a reality.

Leading Asian hospitality group Dusit International has entered into an exclusive agreement with South Africa-based eLan Property Group to manage several hotels and resorts in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. The agreement was signed at a meeting held in Franschhoek near Cape Town, South Africa, where Thai Minister of Commerce General Chatchai Sarikalya was in attendance, alongside Dusit International CEO Mr Chanin Donavanik and CEO of eLan Property Group, Mr Mark Taylor.

The Institute of Asian Businesses (IAB), founded in 1987 in the wake of the Handsworth riots, will from today be known as the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC). The move has been made to emphasise the close association the organisation has with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), a relationship forged 28 years ago by the late Om Parmar, who became honorary president.

Measures to deal with a projected over-allocation of renewable energy subsidies have been announced today. Reducing energy bills for hard working British families and businesses and meeting climate goals in the most cost effective way are Government priorities. The measures set out today will provide better control over spending and ensure bill payers get the best possible deal as we continue to move to a low-carbon economy.

Almost one million passengers passed through Birmingham Airport last month, making it the busiest June in the airport’s history. A record 988,916 people chose the Midlands airport throughout June, beating its previous record for the month, set in June 2014 by 2.8%. Long-haul traffic experienced significant growth in June, up 20% compared to the same period last year.

One of the key speakers at the next month’s Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) Expo event at the National Motorcycle Museum is well-known entrepreneur and innovator Simon Jenner. Simon runs a chain of coffee shops, Urban Coffee Company, which has three outlets in Birmingham and one in Coventry. He’s been running the chain with his business partner for four years, and the business now has a turnover of £1m.

The Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan is set to be adopted by the city council at its cabinet meeting on the 27 July. The masterplan, which was launched for public consultation in 2014, sets out proposals to deliver a world class integrated city centre terminus station – Birmingham Curzon – along with major regeneration across Eastside, Digbeth and the City Centre Core.