Saqib Bhatti is the vice president of the Institute of Asian Businesses and actively involved in the city’s business scene. He tells us about his work in Birmingham and what he’d see improved
Please Introduce Yourself
I am Saqib Bhatti, an associate at Younis Bhatti & Co. I am also vice president of the Institute of Asian Businesses (IAB), a board member for the Broad Street Business Improvement District and executive committee member of the Lunar Society.
What does your company do?
Younis Bhatti & Co is a chartered accountants that caters for a few hundred SMEs from across the West Midlands. Primarily we are business advisors, registered auditors and tax specialists. The IAB is one of the premier representative bodies for businesses in Birmingham. It has been running for more than 25 years, we are primarily a business networking group, but also a strong voice for the West Midlands.
Is Brum a good place to do business?
Birmingham is a fantastic place to do business. It was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and for me the reasons are clear. We have a diverse capable workforce coupled with a central location. It enables businesses that are based in Birmingham to have everything they need to be regional, national and global successes.
What are your biggest gripes with it?
The bad press we get. Birmingham is a vibrant and exciting city and it caters for all age ranges and every type of person. We just need to get the message out. I think all Brummies need to spread the word – Birmingham is the place to be.
How do you feel your clients see the city?
I have a range of clients from all types of industries and business sectors. Some of my clients have been doing business for as long as I have been alive. This is home. Some came with almost nothing and now are rich, happy and content. We have all heard about the American Dream. I say, come to Birmingham and see the “Great British Dream”.
Does Birmingham offer any particular advantages as a destination for business?
Certainly. For me, our location is really what sets us apart. If you are from the South, we are the doorway to the North and to the South. With the advent of HS2 and potential growth at our airport doing business in Birmingham is a no-brainer.
What should be priorities as a city?
Globally, the past few years have been difficult so I think we have two priorities. We need to tackle our unemployment levels and ensure our youth have the skills to be the workforce of tomorrow. Our second priority ought to be to maintain Birmingham’s status and heritage as a hub for manufacturing, while allowing new growth industries to be born and flourish here.
The one billion-dollar question (how would you spend £1bn?)
Birmingham is more than just what is in our city boundaries. It is also the sum of its surrounding areas. I would love to see increased investment in transport networks incorporating greater access to and from these areas, leading Birmingham to be the heart of a thriving energetic metropolis in the West Midlands.
Anything else to add…
To all the young people out there. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t achieve anything. They may not see what you see and may not understand what you understand. Work hard and achieve your dreams.