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August 2022

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David Kidney’s Commonwealth Games 2022 blog

Will you agree with me that the Commonwealth Games 2022 have been a stupendous success? As an adopted Brummie, I have been so very proud of our City and our West Midlands region for pulling off such an incredible celebration of sport. Brummies, we are walking on air because now the whole world can see and understand what we are about.

We are great people who can organise and manage all the necessary arrangements for hosting a major international event. The Games volunteers were terrific in their friendliness and helpfulness towards competitors and their families and the thousands of visitors to our region – as well as the home audiences who turned out in such huge numbers for the opening and closing ceremonies, the individual sports and the party times just about everywhere.

Talking to visitors as I do, it was a joy to hear such praise for our City and our people. They told me the City is modern and vibrant – I know!

They told me the City has vast expanses of green spaces – I know!

They told me that everyone was friendly and they felt safe – Result!

And away from the Games, other important activity was going on. In the HealthTech and MedTech sector, we were busy trying to secure deals for our existing businesses and attracting new ones into our region.

The Cluster featured in the promotional video for our region’s life sciences and health technologies produced by the West Midlands Growth Company. I must have seen it dozens of times recently. Our cluster manager was one of the contributors to the video – you did wonderfully well, Emma!

The Cluster was asked to put forward businesses to pitch to an international “dragons’ den” of Venture Capitalists and Angels for new funding. We ended up putting forward seven of the 12 businesspeople who faced the dragons. This was an event held at what is called “UK House”, the home for the duration of the Games of the UK Government. The location was University of Birmingham’s fabulous, restored building called The Exchange on Centenary Square. The event was part of “Health Day” on Monday 01 August.

The next day, I chaired a panel Q&A for the West Midlands Growth Company at iCentrum. A panel of local businesspeople – Martin Levermore, Martin Peacock and Ewa Truchanowicz – faced an audience of health businesspeople from other countries and gave honest, positive responses to their questions about running health businesses in the West Midlands. As I circulated among the potential inward investors during the breaks, there was Emma again in that promotional video!

Since the Games finished, I have heard some amazingly positive stories of promised investment in our region. We owe thanks to everyone who was involved in the successful staging of the Commonwealth Games 2022 for creating such a fantastic platform that enables all of us not just to bask in the warm light of this success but also to use it as a springboard to securing new investment in our region.

Here at the Cluster, we are ready and willing to help businesses who are looking for new investment or help with developing new ideas, products and services. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to increasing the HealthTech and MedTech sector’s creation of wealth and good quality jobs.

David Kidney, Executive Chair of the West Midlands Health Technologies Cluster.