Business leaders and politicians have joined together in a bid to transform Birmingham into a global enterprise hub which will compete with London to win overseas investment into Britain.
A regional task force has unveiled a fund worth £150m to help 500 advanced manufacturing companies to double their growth in four years.
Driven by Andy Street, the managing director of John Lewis, and the chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the string of 94 initiatives was formulated by 39 local enterprise partnerships at a two-day session held in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Plans include a recruitment drive to create 720 new jobs and 600 traineeships by 2017 and the expansion of the Birmingham City Centre enterprise zone.
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham Council, said: “Birmingham sits at the heart of a wider economic region that has seen huge growth and success in recent years, despite tough economic headwinds. Manufacturing is seeing a resurgence, as companies bring production back to the UK, and brand new sectors such as digital technology are thriving.”
This new economic strategy rebrands the City as “Greater Birmingham” and will attempt to revive the UK manufacturing industry for which the region – home to Jaguar Land Rover – was famous.
It also aims to help the area rival London when securing foreign direct investment.
A 2014 study showed that the UK’s tentative economy recovery has been driven by London, considered by some to be a “drain on UK cities”.
Independent researchers from The Centre of Cities found that the capital now accounts for around 19pc of jobs, 21pc of businesses and 25pc of economic output for the whole of the UK.
London has also been accused of “sucking up” young talent with one in three 20-30-year-olds who relocate choosing to move to the capital.
The Greater Birmingham investment fund is designed to trigger growth in the West Midlands and comes at the time when private sector jobs in Birmingham have edged up marginally by 2.2pc over the last two years – compared to 5.7pc in London.
Often perceived as the “second” UK city, it ranked fourth behind Bristol and Leeds by the number of start-ups per 10,000 people in 2012.
It comes in third place when measuring work place earnings and residents with the highest qualifications.
However, Mike Wright, the executive director of Jaguar Land Rover, said the reputation of Birmingham as a global investment centre is already established.
The city, named the foreign direct investment (FDI) destination of 2013 at the FDI awards, attracted a 52pc increase in foreign direct investment last year and secured a significant investment from Deutsche Bank.
With cheaper business rates and rents than London, many digital start-ups are heading to the West Midlands, lead by mobile payments company, Droplet, and clothing e-tailer, ASOS.
Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coalfield and former Cabinet Minister said: “Greater Birmingham is the home of a second industrial revolution.”
The Greater Birmingham area will include inner Birmingham City Centre, Solihull, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell, which houses a growing population of 2.44m.
The 39 local enterprise partnerships are working together to refine the economic plan which will be submitted to the Government at the end of this month.