Innovation 50 - Celebrating the Midlands top 50 businesses

A new report ranking the most forward-thinking companies in the Midlands has been published by law firm Mills & Reeve as part its inaugural ‘Innovation 50’ – a campaign designed to celebrate the region’s R&D royalty, industry groundbreakers and rising stars, developed in collaboration with

The list, compiled by the Birmingham firm, celebrates inspiring innovation success stories from across the region and features 50 businesses from six key sectors: manufacturing and engineering; retail, consumer and leisure; science and technology; healthcare and education; digital and creative and business services.

  • Innovation 50 report recognises the region’s most forward-thinking businesses
  • Engineering firm Lontra named ‘Innovative Company of the Year’ while software firm Sales-inamed ‘Innovative Exporter of the Year’
  • The in-depth index aims to celebrate regional business activity

Up to 15 top-performing enterprises from the six categories were identified in the index, with many being specially commended by the judges for their innovative products or services. In addition, Warwickshire-based engineering firm Lontra was singled out as ‘Innovative Company of the Year’, while Solihull-headquartered software house Sales-i was named ‘Innovative Exporter of the Year’.

Steve Allen, Head of the Birmingham office at Mills & Reeve, said: “The depth and breadth of innovation being showcased by businesses in the index is testament to the talent and ingenuity of organisations across the region. Midlands businesses operate in a truly global marketplace, and it is through their entrepreneurial mindset and product and service development that they are able to move up the value chain and position themselves as industry leaders.”

The Innovation 50 Index was compiled in response to Birmingham’s rising profile on the global business stage. Just last year the city was identified as an ‘International Middleweight’ alongside the likes of Melbourne and Tel Aviv by the World Economic Forum. This leaves the city only two places away from being recognised as a ‘Knowledge Capital’ - cities around the world considered to be ‘innovation hubs’.

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, and Innovation 50 judge added: “It’s vital that as a region the Midlands positions itself as a hotbed of innovation, and fosters a business community in which bold, intelligent ideas are brought to fruition, driving greater economic output. It was a real challenge to narrow down the entries to a top 50, and heartening to see the sheer volume of success stories being generated.”

All of the firms that entered into the Innovation 50 were judged by an expert panel comprised of some of the region’s top leaders in business and innovation, including:

  • Steve Allen – Head of Birmingham Office, Mills & Reeve | @Steve_D_Allen

  • Anita Bhalla OBE – Chair, Performances Birmingham | @AnitaBhalla

  • Paul Faulkner – Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce | @gbchamberboss

  • Dr David Hardman – CEO, Innovation Birmingham

  • Immy Kaur – Co-Founder and Director, Impact Hub Birmingham | @ImmyKaur

  • Markus Keller – Head of Corporate Banking Birmingham, HSBC Commercial Banking

  • Amanda Lowe – Managing Director, Story Comms | @amandalowe_bham

  • Graham Nicoll – Enterprise Advisory, KPMG UK LLP | @GrahamNicoll02 

  • Professor Tim Softley – Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

  • Alex Turner – Editor, | @alexicographer

  • Shah Zaki – Founding Partner, Orbis Partners LLP

 To find out more about the campaign visit

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