This is my 17th MIPIM – and my last before I step down from my role at Jaguar Land Rover in a few weeks.
I suppose that makes it a very good time to look back at MIPM and what a change there has been with Coventry and Warwickshire, and indeed Jaguar Land Rover.
I have to say that when I first came out to the show, primarily to provide support for Coventry and Warwickshire, my diary was not exactly full. My time was spent forging relationships on behalf of the company and while they were important, I had no idea just how important they would prove to be over the longer term and how our presence here would change.
We now, of course, have key sites in Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham, South Staffs and Liverpool, and not only does that make us a considerably more important employer, it also has had several knock-off effects.
Our relationships with local authorities and other bodies such as LEPs are far more significant than ever before. We are here supporting the UK was well as just representing what was our own back yard. We are also very significant land holders with continuing land requirements, which is now why I am joined by property colleagues from the company.
My diary is also a great deal busier than it was!
MIPIM really has a frenetic uniqueness about it. Primarily it is, I believe, about forging relationships often with people who simply you do not get to see in the UK. For instance, MIPIM is where I met the senior Government officials for the area in Brazil where Jaguar Land Rover has created a new manufacturing plant. That first meeting at MIPIM served us very well for building community relations.
Coventry and Warwickshire is at the event this year with a very strong development and regeneration programme and very much part of a UK Midlands presence.
The area has always punched above it weight at MIPIM with a very well-orchestrated presence at the show, with a series of events and talks and some very strong marketing and publicity.
With several key developments announced in recent months, it is important that we get the message of our progress and vitality out to an international audience.
That is also true for all the other areas right across the Midlands. We are competing in a global market and our region has a huge amount to offer inward investors – and we have to make sure they hear that message.