All the latest news, advice and events for the Solihull business community

Contact: Lillian Elekan T: 0121 678 7488

Matthew Hartas: New chairman

Report to investigate state of local economy

Trainee takes over as new chairman

Birmingham Trainee Solicitors Society (BTSS), the 174-year old offshoot of the Birmingham Law Society, has named Wilkes Partnership trainee Matthew Hartas as its new chairman. He said: “I’m really looking forward to getting

started as chair. Since starting at Wilkes I have always been encouraged to get involved in BTSS activities and I could immediately see why. “It is such an active organisation and it not

only helps build relationships within the next generation of lawyers in Birmingham, it also raises money for good causes.” Mr Hartas joined Solihull-based Wilkes last

September, and is currently working in corporate law after spending six months with the firm’s specialist property team. BTSS is made up of more the 300 trainee

solicitors, paralegals, newly qualified solicitors and post-graduate law students across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

On your bike: Martin Johnson (centre) during the training ride

A new comprehensive report into the local economy in Solihull will be launched at the Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s annual Expo. The new report, named ‘Doing Business in

Solihull: An Economic Snapshot’ will offer new insight into the local economy, analysis of businesses operating in Solihull and highlight key local institutions.

‘The report will prove to be a valuable tool for the Solihull business community’

The report, produced by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – of which Solihull Chamber is part of – aims to support business decisions in regard to further investment and opportunities within Solihull. The report will be launched at a high-profile

panel event taking place at the Solihull Expo on 17 May, at Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport. The launch event will include an overview of

the main findings of the report, followed by a panel discussion featuring a number of leaders in business, policy and politics. Panellists include Kathryn James, managing

director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions, Kevin Johns, director of Prime

Accountants Group and Simon Richards, acting managing director of Birmingham Airport. Lillian Elekan, head of Solihull Chamber of

Commerce, said: “Solihull's business community is vibrant, positive and growing – with more firms looking to relocate to the area and record occupancy rates at business parks. “With all this rapid change and momentum,

driven by HS2, Commonwealth Games and other developments, it is of huge value and importance to document and analyse this growing business area. “The launch of this report comes at a perfect

time, in light of these developments, focusing solely on business in Solihull. The report will prove to be a valuable tool for the Solihull business community, organisations considering the area as their next business location and to attract further inward investment.” The report is being sponsored by Prime

Accountants Group. Mr Johns said: “We are amidst an exciting

time for region and it’s great to have the Solihull economic survey to provide statistics to support this belief. As this snapshot outlines Solihull boasts about high levels of employment, entrepreneurs and successful schools, all of which will be essential as we begin to capitalise on the opportunity in front of us.”

New head of sales at NEC Group Arenas

Andy Price has been appointed as head of commercial at the NEC Group Arenas. He will be working for Arena Birmingham and

Resorts World Arena, where he will focus on boosting sales, and will also be helping grow the NEC’s hospitality business, Amplify. Mr Price has a strong background in the music

Rugby star leads cycling event

England rugby star Martin Johnson led more 150 Vélo Birmingham & Midlands cycle race participants on a Saturday morning training ride through Warwickshire countryside. The Solihull-born World Cup-winning captain

and ride ambassador for Vélo took on the 40-mile training ride, just weeks before the event itself. Vélo is one of Europe’s biggest cycling events

and takes place on 12 May, featuring 20,000 cyclists traversing a 100-mile closed-road route,


and raising a substantial amount for local and national charities. Starting and finishing in Birmingham city

centre, the route will also pass through Coventry. Martin Johnson said: “Events like this are great

for this area. It’s a fantastic place to ride your bike – something people don’t always realise. “It’s great to show off the beautiful

countryside and will be the perfect showpiece for the Midlands.”

and live events industry, having spent seven years as regional marketing director at Midlands- based radio stations Free Radio and Gem. Most recently, he was client services director

at creative communications agency Alive. He said: “This role is a fantastic opportunity

for me to work in two world-class venues that I’ve spent a lot of time in – both during my time at Free Radio and as a lover of live events. “A huge amount of investment has gone into

the Arenas over the past few years and it’s a very exciting time to be joining the team.” Guy Dunstan, Director of NEC Group Arenas,

said: “Andy brings a wealth of experience in high-profile live events and has a proven track record of delivering new ideas which sets him in excellent stead for this position.”

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