Wolverhampton | Sandwell | Dudley | Walsall
4 - 15 October 2021
Economy & BCBF
The Black Country is an unassuming area with amazing potential and a very healthy-looking outlook. The 356 square kilometre sub-region encompasses the City of Wolverhampton and Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and is home to over 1.17 million people.
It is a prime geographical location right in the heart of England, with excellent national transport links including major motorways, the M6, M5 and M54.
The diverse workforce spans an impressive range of industry sectors, from manufacturing to retail, education to arts and leisure hosting 446,000 jobs and generating £20.2 billion GVA per annum.
The Black Country has a proud and strong industrial heritage. In more recent times, new industries have also established themselves and are growing and thriving, making a significant contribution to the economy. New sectors such as automobile and rail engineering, aerospace and other high value technological manufacturing are bringing cutting edge technologies and innovation to the region.
The area has attracted massive investment on an unprecedented level in the last few years. This has helped more traditional industries such as construction to experience a dramatic rise in the number of local people employed in both managerial roles and skilled trades.
As a result, GVA has grown from £18.5 billion to £20.25
billion since 2012, an increase of 8.8% in just five years.
The Black Country is witnessing a real re-surgence. The number of active enterprises is increasing and new start-ups’ survival rates after five years are now exceeding the national average across the region as a whole. Similarly, employment levels are rising, unemployment is falling; participation in education, particularly in higher level qualifications, skilled trade apprenticeships are all improving.
With the historical industries and skills that made the Black Country a commercial centre until the mid-20th century still active, the area benefits from a thriving and diverse economy and investors can choose from highly skilled workforce in a range of sectors, that can truly compete on an international playing field.
Above anything else, what makes the Black Country so special is its people, who have an unyielding positivity and can-do attitude.
The Black Country has been largely under the radar. But now is the time to let the rest of the UK know about the superb assets and opportunities here. The Black Country stands proud and the Black Country Business Festival will champion this, with the support of our businesses and communities.