Foreign-owned businesses are continuing to invest strongly across the Marches – demonstrating the strength of the region as a high-quality business location, the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership says.

A Marches LEP-run programme has seen a combined £13million invested by six separate foreign-owned companies in the last 12 months – creating 74 new jobs and safeguarding 150 others.

Official figures from the Department for Business and Trade reveal that the investment secured under the LEP’s Key Account Management (KAM) programme helped contribute to an overall total of 468 new jobs being created by 20 foreign-owned firms in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin last year.

Rachel Laver, Marches LEP chief executive, said the Marches KAM programme and significant support offered by each of the three local authorities in the region had played a huge part in the success.

“The Marches is not just a great place to do business, but in the LEP and our three councils we can offer the support and help needed to attract significant inward investment. The fact that there is such a strong network of help available is a major attraction to firms when they are making investment decisions.

“As well as attracting new companies to the region, foreign-owned businesses which are already here are encouraged to talk through their plans for investment and expansion with both the local authority teams and our own dedicated KAM account manager.

“We have seen that this approach has consistently delivered new investment and jobs, which is good for the individual areas in which the companies are located and the region as a whole.”

Hereford-based Blueprint Robotics – an American panelised timber manufacturer – is a recent addition to the portfolio of businesses account managed through the Marches LEP KAM programme.

Jon Johnson, director of Herefordshire-based Mountain Perspective and KAM  account manager for the LEP, said: “In America the standard timber build takes place on site. Blueprint Robotics has a central factory where the whole building – from single-storey homes to multiple-storey commercial buildings – is taken to site in panels and connected there, reducing build times from months to days.

“The US look to Europe and the UK for designers and engineers that can develop the plans and technical designs. The UK MD Tim Griffiths studied at Hereford Technical College and has had a varied career in design in local businesses and originally worked for Blueprint robotics as a freelance designer. Then in 2022 he was given the opportunity to develop a design studio in Hereford. Tim  now employs a team of six and plans to double the size of the team as production increases in the US.

“Tim is passionate about local engineering skills, and a great advocate of NMITE, the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering based in Hereford, and ensuring that young people have a broader understanding of the job opportunities of the future.”

Under the KAM programme, companies are given a designated account manager and can receive free market intelligence, business growth advice, support with expansion and energy efficiency, supply chain information and access to events and networking opportunities.

Help is also available to companies looking to relocate to the Marches, link up with the LEP’s business support service the Marches Growth Hub, and also gain access to DBT, Midlands Engine, local authority and Marches sector specialists.

Companies across the Marches seeking to take advantage of the KAM programme should contact  jon.johnson@marcheslep.org.uk

Details of how the programme can help companies throughout the Marches are available at https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk/support/key-account-management-department-for-international-trade/

For more information about Blueprint Robotics visit https://www.blueprint-robotics.com/