What is the Midlands?

About the Midlands

The UK’s Midlands region is home to 780,000 businesses, generating an economy worth over £200 billion. With a population of more than 10 million and 20-24 years olds making up the largest demographic group, the area offers companies a strong consumer base and young, skilled workforce.

The Midlands is at the heart of UK manufacturing, providing innovative technologies for trains, planes and automobiles and in recent times has become home to a growing tech sector. The region contributes 15% of the UK’s total exports and offers multiple supply chain opportunities into global brands such as Jaguar Land Rover & Rolls-Royce.

Opportunities and incentives

Small and medium-sized enterprises locating in the Midlands can access the £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This is aimed at helping UK-based businesses to grow by offering a range of support, from small business loans of £25,000 to £150,000 to proof-of-concept and equity funding.

Across the Midlands, there are 8 government-designated Enterprise Zones. Benefits available to investors range from simplified planning to business rate discounts of up to 100%. Individual zones have specific support packages for occupants, related to their sector focus. For example, MIRA Technology Park in Leicestershire is a national centre of automotive R&D excellence.

Most Midlands cities, such as Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and Derby are less than 2 hours from London, while offering a lower cost base across industrial land values, office rents and salaries. In 2026 the region will gain 3 new stations from the £56 million HS2 high speed rail project and journey times will be further reduced – London to Birmingham will take just 45 minutes.

Skills and education

The 20 universities in the Midlands produce over 100,000 graduates a year and include 3 institutions ranked amongst the top 100 universities in the world (QS World Rankings 2018). The Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Warwick are part of the UK’s Russell Group – 24 universities recognised for outstanding research. There are over 400 PhD courses offered across the region.

The Midlands Engine Partnership, which brings together civic, business and academic leaders to support economic growth, will use £20 million from the government to meet the region’s key skills requirements and provide 750,000 apprenticeships.

There are 22 science parks across the Midlands all contributing to its cutting-edge research. In the West Midlands, £80 million is being invested in a state-of-the-art battery development and £31million is funding research into connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

Leading Tech Sectors