The two largest chambers of commerce in the West Midlands have both expressed excitement at the opportunity to form Local Enterprise Partnerships.
It is thought that chambers will play a big role in the new bodies, which will be formed in the wake of regional development agencies, and both Birmingham and the Black Country chambers are hopeful of progress.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said that while fears have emerged that LEPs could divide the region, he was hopeful that new bodies in the West Midlands would be able to work together where best.
He said: “I think we should stay positive about the benefits of a new approach to building strategy locally.
“In Birmingham and Solihull there is an enormous amount of confidence that we can regenerate and grow.
“As the Black Country and Telford work on their local plans, I am certain we will spot ways that we can work together. If we try and short cut it and impose a regional LEP it won’t get by and nobody wants it.
“I am very confident that by the time we make our submission on September 6 we will have something clear to show about what we can do.”
Mike Dell, president of Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said it was important to attract “high calibre private sector input” to ensure that LEPs reflect businesses.
He added: “The Black Country Chamber has been in positive discussions with the Black Country local authorities and we fully support the development of a Black Country LEP, provided that we remain outward looking and have clear mechanisms for collaborating and working with our neighbours.
“There is a real need to do things differently and to avoid at all costs a reinvention of existing structures or loss of focus through ‘mission creep’.
“The LEP must not become yet another talking shop.”