The British Midlands

Business sectors within the region







Medical Devices

Financial & Business Services


Environmental Technology

Food & Drink

Advanced Materials

Building Technologies

Other Sectors

Advanced Materials


  • Expertise in Advanced Flexible Materials supports many key industries in the British Midlands region, from medical textiles to transport technology
  • Innovation, research and a strong business support network keeps the region at the forefront of the industry
  • Businesses in the region benefit from the skills of over 24,000 specialists with a huge range of expertise

The textiles industry has never been more exciting and Advanced Flexible Materials, or ‘technical textiles’, are finding incredible new applications in everything from wound dressings to Formula One cars.

The British Midlands has built a strong foothold in the industry, with over 300 companies in the region covering a wide spectrum of products and services. Areas of expertise range from protective and sports equipment to industrial materials and medical textiles.

A large percentage of products are exported and many firms in the region produce parts to be used in larger entities –the goods produced here are vital to many other industries, including healthcare and transport technology

There are around 700 textiles enterprises in the region, employing around 16,000 people, plus a further 8,800 in the clothing sector. Knitted textiles represent a particular niche for the British Midlands – 50% of the UK’s knitting capacity located here – and applications range from highly flexible composite reinforcement to automotive interiors, healthcare and surgical appliances, sportswear and geotex.

A number of key innovations have been led by British Midlands companies. These include extreme survival equipment, a textile-based car bumper which regains its shape after impact, and an innovative fabric incorporating silver which can kill 99% of bacteria – including the deadly MRSA virus – on contact.

The industry is changing rapidly and dedicated support services ensure the region’s businesses remain at the forefront.

The region has an excellent and established capacity for research. While De Montfort University in Leicester and The University of Nottingham lead the way with centres of excellence and research groups, other British Midlands universities also have a presence in specific areas of research.

The InnoTex and TekTex projects are Government-backed initiatives supporting regional clothing, footwear and textile companies. Based at De Montford University in Leicester, they combine in-depth research and development with business support to encourage specific innovations.