Advantage West Midlands, one of nine Regional Development Agencies operating in England, was established by the Government in April 1999 and acts as a strategic
driver for sustainable economic development in the West Midlands. Its aim is to provide leadership and action to create more, better jobs and an enhanced quality
of life for all in the West Midlands.
Advantage West Midlands has an agreed Regional Economic Strategy to help create wealth through enterprise and provide access to opportunity for all by targetting
and delivering advantage.
There are four key objectives for 'delivering advantage': (1) Business; promoting enterprise, innovation and inward investment to secure, retain and
grow more businesses, (2) Skills; ensuring the workforce meets the needs of existing and potential employers, (3) Infrastructure; property, transport and
communications to create the conditions for growth, (4) Communities; targetting resources where there is most need and most potential for improvement.
Advantage will be targetted via Regeneration Zones, Business Clusters and High Tech Corridors. The prime objective of the six Regeneration Zones is to link
need - social deprevationand high unemployment - to opportunity. The zones are administered by Partnership Boards. One aim is to reclaim 720 hecatares of brownfield
or derelict land by 2004, turning it into projects to benefit the whole community. Key initiatives include Camp Hill Urban Village in Nuneaton, the Jewellery
Quarter in Birmingham and St. John's Urban Villlages.
There are ten Business Clusters, which are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialised suppliers, service providers, firms
in related industries and associated institutions that compete but also co-operate. Cluster Opportunity Groups - businesses grouped through inductry -
have investment funding from Advantage West Midlands and the European Union.
There are three High Tech Corridors, which include specific site development opportunities. These are funded by Advantage West Midlands together with
the Rover Task Force, and some £29 million is available to support Corridor projects.