LEP Members Elected


IAB President and S&CC Principal Joins Board

Two new faces have been welcomed at the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) which include President of the Institute of Asian Businesses, Saqib Bhatti.


Saqib, an associate at Younis Bhatti & Co. Ltd, a firm of chartered accountants and registered auditors is also a board member of the Broad Street Business Improvement District.


He said: “It is a real privilege to be appointed to the GBSLEP. Over the years, it has done some really great work in bringing together stakeholders and creating a collective strategy aimed at nurturing growth, increasing employment and creating a competitive economic environment.


“With my appointment, the board continues to recognise the importance of the SME sector and how vital it is to long-term economic sustainability.


“As a Chartered Accountant who represents many small businesses and as President of the Institute of Asian Businesses, I am looking forward to providing a voice for SMEs and working to positively shape the future of the region.”


Also new to the board is Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College. Mike formally joined the GBSLEP in January 2015 as the new further education representative. Mike replaces Norman Cave who stepped down from the board following his retirement as Principal of Bourneville College.


As well as introducing the new members to the board, the GBSLEP has also announced the departure of Chris Webster after three years of service. Formally the CEO of Miller Construction, Chris has been responsible for leading on the ‘optimising assets’ element of the LEP’s Strategy for Growth and championing the Enterprise Zone (EZ).


Andy Street, chairman of the GBSLEP, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank our outgoing directors and welcome our new members to the team. In particular I’d like to mention the contribution Chris Webster has made in the last three years. He has committed a lot of time and energy to taking forward the LEP’s agenda, working closely with a wide range of partners to bring forward sites for housing and employment use.


“His work has included overseeing the development of the LEP’s spatial plan and a programme of regeneration proposals that secured investment in the Growth Deal. He has also supported the delivery of the public assets element of the City Deal which saw the first site, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, released to market in January.”


Chris has also been the board’s EZ champion, overseeing the development and instigating delivery of the £275m EZ Investment Plan which is supporting a wide range of projects in the city including Paradise, Midland Metro Extension to Centenary Square, Garrison Data Centre, iCentrum, and Masshouse.


The EZ has spent £18m in the last financial year, which has brought around 60,000 sqm of new and refurbished space and nearly 1,000 employment positions being filled as a result of EZ investment.


Raza Samar also steps down from the board and during his time he was responsible for reducing regulation and championing business diversity.


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