Black Country Strengthens it’s LEP

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has announced a number of new additions to its board, which works to remove barriers to business growth in the region.

Over the last 18 months the LEP has opened up funding streams of more than 100 million for local business and laid the foundations for 10,000 new jobs. And today (WED) the LEP, which will continue to be chaired by Stewart Towe, managing director of Hadley Industries in Smethwick, has revealed four new business leaders will join the board.

Vicki Wilkes, Managing Director of Brierley Hill-based Phoenix Calibration and Services Ltd, is the new support on employment, education and skills to Professor Ian Oakes of Wolverhampton University.

Simon Eastwood, Managing Director at Wolverhampton-based Carillion has taken on John McDonough’s role as private sector lead on planning for the LEP. Mr McDonough retired as managing director at Carillion and from his position on the LEP board last year.

Ninder Johal, Managing Director at Wednesbury-based live event production agency Nachural Corporate Communications, is the LEP’s new private sector lead for perception and communications.

Meanwhile Dr Chris Handy OBE, Group Chief Executive from housing organisation Accord Group situated in West Bromwich, is taking on the new role of social enterprise lead for the LEP.

Stewart Towe, chair of the Black Country LEP, said:

“We are delighted to welcome our new members who I am sure will prove invaluable in helping to further strengthen the skills and knowledge base of the board as we continue our work to remove barriers to growth for firms in the Black Country.”

In addition to the private sector representation, senior representatives from each of the four Black Country councils of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, will also sit on the board.

The LEP will focus its work on jobs & wealth creation (covered by the access to finance, business support and international trade priorities), physical development & infrastructure (covered by the planning and transport priorities) and skills & education.