Businesses of all sizes in Greater Manchester will benefit from tailored support to help them grow, innovate and move into new markets thanks to a multi-million-pound investment over the next two years.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded GM Business Growth Hub £7.5m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver a comprehensive offer of support to businesses in the city-region. Connecting businesses and start-ups, no matter their size or specialism, with new opportunities and support tailored to their ambitions.
As well as a dedicated contact centre offering instant advice around day-to-day queries such as registering for VAT and skills development, GM Business Growth Hub – which forms part of The Growth Company – will also offer businesses practical and specialised business support based on their needs and ambitions in areas such as accessing finance, innovation, leadership and skills development, decarbonisation and many more.
Each local authority across Greater Manchester will also be allocated a team of advisers who will work closely with councils to ensure support is aligned with existing local provision and that opportunities are accessible for all.
The flexible approach of GM Business Growth Hub’s new provision will mean that support is tailored to the existing commitments of the business and can be offered virtually or in person, out of hours, one to one or as a collective workforce.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester’s lead for Economy, Business and Inclusive Growth said: “This investment and new programme of work signals a great step forward in our ambitions to accelerate business growth, good jobs and a more productive economy by supporting the city-region’s diverse business base.
“Designing the service in this way and working directly with local authorities will ensure delivery is integrated and tailored to the needs of the business community in each area and that businesses that would really benefit from this support, including start-ups and businesses that want to grow, innovate or move into new markets don’t miss out.”
This investment will build on a decade of business support delivered by GM Business Growth Hub, on behalf of the GMCA. Since 2011, the Hub has engaged with more than 90,000 businesses and individuals wishing to start a business, created 14,793 jobs, and safeguarded a further 12,309.
Janine Smith, Director, GM Business Growth Hub, said: “GM Business Growth Hub has a long history of delivering meaningful business support to SMEs across Greater Manchester. Over the last 10 years we’ve been embedded in the Greater Manchester business support landscape working closely with businesses, partners and stakeholders to ensure that the support we provide supports Greater Manchester’s ambitions and those of the businesses based here.
“Greater Manchester is one of the most exciting places to be in the UK right now and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of that future. From helping businesses innovate, to developing their green potential and closing skills gaps, we look forward to continuing this important work with GMCA and the 10 local authorities.”
The UKSPF is a fund designed by the government to replace the former EU structural funds, with GMCA named as the lead authority for administering the fund in the city-region.
It focuses on several investment priorities including communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills.
Other examples of how UKSPF will be used include, improving high streets, creating workspaces for local SME’s and supporting Greater Manchester’s VCSE sector.