Black Country LEP meeting at Himley Hall

Thursday the 18th March 2011 saw two members of Connect WM attend the second of a series of meetings held by the newly formed Black Country LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) at Himley Hall.


With the purpose being to actively participant in open discussions on the already identified and the current group meeting suggested routes forward - to improve the Black Country’s economy development, and awareness.


One Connect WM member was present on the ‘Perception’ group table which was discussing on how to look at possible ways to positively heighten how the Black Country is perceived.


The other Connect WM member was present on the ‘Access to Finance’ group table whereby possible solutions were discussed in how to help Black Country Businesses connect to finance.


The meeting lasted for 4 hours and many people - about 150, seemed to be passionate about the current situation affecting the Black Country. Those present came from varying types of industries and offered views and solutions to problems and obstacles affecting their specific industry or area of expertise.


It was pleasing to hear some of the solutions being discussed where the very same solutions which Connect WM has been working on developing all though on a wider scale in terms of coverage i.e. the whole West Midlands region as opposed to just solely the Black Country.


That said development of the Connect WM site does included a gateway to ‘Connect the Black Country’ whereby businesses and consumers within it would be able to identify services and products which are supplied by Black Country based businesses.


We did have a concern regarding being present at the meeting with the reason being as mentioned before some solutions discussed where the same as those being developed by Connect WM, so in order to be correct and not seem or be viewed as stealing ideas, or jumping on the band wagon we wrote to two high profile members of the Black County LEP to make known our own business model.


“So what” you may say.....well this was important to us because only weeks prior we have had dealings the business of one of the people we wrote to, and our concern was that some of the discussion on the day at Himley Hall was as a direct result of the details we supplied to them.


We received a reply from them assuring us that was not the case and that our business model disclosed to them remains confidential, and that any discussions along the lines of a similar model was purely a coincidence.


We understand that there will soon be another  Black Country LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) meeting to talk through things further....hopefully we will be able to attend and this time provide our input and offer our suggestions as at the meeting we attend we felt we couldn’t do so due to the business model modules being so similar.