The report – Driving Growth – undertaken by Centre for Cities for Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership calls for the creation of a new Business Innovation and Growth Hub to increase access to the practical support that local businesses need to help them grow.
The research highlights that there is potential for growth in a range of local industries. The area also has a sustained specialisation in automotive research and development and manufacturing – which is at the centre of the area’s City Deal bid to Government.
Investment in research and development (R&D) in Coventry and Warwickshire is twice the UK average and strong partnerships have also been built up between the business community, local universities and other specialist organisations which drive knowledge exchange and generate fresh ideas.
But the research shows that more can be done to build on these strengths; both through a focus on building existing partnerships to drive innovation, and by increasing business growth opportunities through local supply chains.
Currently, only a relatively small selection of businesses in the area make up the bulk of innovative activity, with 89 per cent of R&D employment being accounted for by the top five per cent of R&D investors.
Similarly, partnership working, whether with universities or other businesses, has tended to be limited to, and between, larger firms.
The Business Innovation and Growth Hub could help to extend partnerships across the private and public sector, broker new relationships between businesses and universities, encourage supply chain development and offer stronger support for fast growing businesses.
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said: “Our analysis of the Coventry and Warwickshire economy shows that, whilst it performs very well against the national average in knowledge creating industries, much more can be done to utilise these assets.
“Coventry and Warwickshire should play to its strengths by encouraging both better knowledge sharing and collaboration, and encouraging procurement, to support all business across the region to attract investment and grow.”
Dr Richard Hutchins, board lead member for skills on the LEP, said: “This is an extremely interesting and valuable piece of research. It underlines just what we have highlighted in our City Deal bid – that with the right development, there is massive growth potential in our engineering and manufacturing sector.
“A growth hub would focus on targeting the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector with aspirations to innovate and grow so that the area can increase and improve its productivity.
“There clearly is very good work currently being undertaken, but we need to offer more joined up support, so we can more effectively build on the assets we possess.”
Notes to editors
About the Centre for Cities
The Centre for Cities is first port of call for UK and international decision makers seeking to understand and improve UK cities’ economic performance.
This report was written with thanks to the financial support of: Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Jaguar Land Rover, the University of Warwick and Warwickshire County Council.
For further information please contact Rita Beden, External Affairs Officer, Centre for Cities 020 7803 4303 / firstname.lastname@example.org