Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead has hailed the success of West Midlands exporters and called on more companies to follow their example.
The value of exports from the West Midlands rose to £32.9 billion in the year ending September 2017, a 16% increase compared to the previous 12 months.
The West Midlands share of total national exports has also increased and now accounts for 10.2% of all UK exports.
It’s not just exports that have seen a big increase, last year Birmingham welcomed a record number of overseas visitors, in part due to tourists who flocked to the city following the success of international TV hit Peaky Blinders.
From January to September 2017 there was a record 1.8 million overseas visits to the West Midlands, up 10% on the same period the year before.
2017 also saw the launch of the successful Waterways of England pilot, led by the West Midlands Growth company, which encourages visitors to explore the historic waterways of England’s heartland in the city which boasts more canals than Venice.
One company to benefit from the West Midlands renaissance is Stourbridge-based firm Sadler’s Ales, which is selling innovative Peaky Blinders themed ‘ale and hat’ sets along with Peaky Blinders-inspired gin.
The company recently won export orders to Romania with support from the Department for International Trade and is now looking at building on this success to sell more of its products in other new markets.
Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion said:
“Exports have surged in the West Midlands over the past year, with successful products from electric black cabs to world-class BAFTA-winning TV shows leading the way in unlocking the region’s enormous potential.
“Sadler’s Ales are a great example of a local business which is seizing the global opportunities offered to local companies, by tapping into the popularity of one of the world’s most popular TV series.
“As an international economic department, we will encourage other companies to follow their example, and continue to help businesses of all sizes forge ties with potential buyers and investors.”
Ian King, sales director at Sadler’s Brewing Company said: “After a visit to meet our trade partners in Bucharest and after several supplier meetings, we secured distribution of our Peaky Blinder merchandise into the Romanian market.
“This is a big win for the Brewery and will allow us to further extend our export portfolio.”
To celebrate the success of the BBC series, a Peaky Blinders festival is set to take place in the West Midlands later this year – providing fans with the chance to live out the exploits of the Birmingham gang.
For two weekends, September 7-8 and 14-15, the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley will be transformed into the streets of 1920s Birmingham where the show is set, attracting visitors from across the world