Unlocking inclusive growth by linking micro assets to anchor institutions: the case of skilled overseas migrants and refugees and hospital jobs

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This paper contributes to anchor institution, migrant and refugee integration, skills utilisation and inclusive growth debates. Via a pioneering innovative approach to inclusive urban development linking together physical infrastructure development and neighbourhood management approaches to urban regeneration, it explores the potential for micro assets within communities to be linked to macro assets of large spatially immobile anchor institutions. Through a case study, it draws on experience, and identifies transferable learning points, from a skills matching element of a large European Union funded project in a superdiverse inner-city deprived neighbourhood in Birmingham, UK. In contrast to the typical emphasis of area-based employment initiatives on people with low skills, the skills matching initiative focuses specifically on connecting skilled overseas migrants and refugees to skilled and highly-skilled jobs in a large local hospital. It underlines the central role of local partnership working and highlights the role of skills utilisation, not merely skills development, in inclusive growth. The evidence suggests that three components underlie success in unlocking and catalysing links between micro assets and a macro asset to realise anchor institution potential: (1) institutional entrepreneurship, which provides the strategic buy-in from the anchor institution; (2) innovative entrepreneurship, which provides the delegated responsibility for implementation; and (3) vision and place leadership, which provides the strategy and resources to build the bridge between the macro asset and the local community to help realise inclusive growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-465
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
Issue number4
Early online date12 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the EU Urban Innovative Actions initiative, which provided funding for the USE-IT! Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together project.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Anchor institution
  • Inclusive growth
  • Migrant
  • Refugee
  • Skill utilisation
  • Partnership working
  • Urban regeneration
  • Community development


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