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With the world becoming ever more connected, digital, creative and tech business businesses are thriving. Manchester has seen a flowering of successful businesses in this space, and it is changing fast.

That’s where Greater Connected came in – providing the skills and practical steps to thrive through collaboration and community. 

This month alumni businesses – together with their GC Business Growth Hub coaches and delivery partners Much Clearer – gathered at Home in central Manchester to celebrate the advances they have made and the challenges they met and overcame.

“The Greater Connected programme brings together businesses from the full spectrum of the sector. Creative and digital agencies, videographers, animators, SEO specialists and tech companies to name a few. All coming together to learn from each other, build connections and grow. With Manchester having the largest DCT sector in the UK after London, Greater Connected works to grow the sector here and it keeps getting stronger,” says Sarah Novotny, head of digital creative and tech sectors at Business Growth Hub.

Greater Connected helped businesses to define or refine their business plans, plot a clear route to their objectives, and gain greater knowledge of core business fundamentals.

The programme consists of small group workshops run by industry experts, and one-on-one training and discussions, finding solutions to the issues faced the DCT companies in the Greater Manchester area. 

Greater Connected alumni Jaime Gee (pictured, main image), co-founder & MD at Jam, said: “The course has given us the focus and the direction to improve in areas that we needed to, and then grow from there. We have grown at a steady and smoother pace. So previously, when we were perhaps not as refined as we could have been, now there is a lot more structure to the business and we can see the trajectory. Greater Connected helped us realise that change.”

How GC Business Growth Hub helped new businesses in Greater Manchester

Almost 400 companies have taken part in the programme and these companies have created over 200 jobs and launched countless new service or products, all in Greater Manchester.

Another alumni of Greater Connected, Jonny Ashworth (below), creative director at Mighty Giant, also appreciates what the service did for his company: “A huge part of Greater Connected for me is the team leaders who I’ve been working with since we started the programme. My company was a few years old, but it hadn’t really matured, but with Greater Connected you have people that sit with you ask the probing questions and so reveal the way forward.”

Jonny Ashworth, Creative Director, Mighty Giant, Greater Connected Alumni

With the challenge of the pandemic and the need to adapt to keep up, the alumni of Greater Connected succeeded. They came together to celebrate that success. The programme contributed to the businesses of those at the event and they were there to share some more insights and practical solutions they gained from Greater Connected. The Business Growth Hub and Greater Connected are part of the growth story that is the digital, tech and creative sector in Greater Manchester. The evening ended with a chance to network and share their success stories with their fellow alumni and their Greater Connected friends.

Commenting on the event, Nicola Anderson, senior business advisor at Business Growth Hub, says: “It was a great afternoon, and it was wonderful to see so many people that were on the Greater Connected programme. Everyone I spoke to said the programme was a great help to them in their businesses and they were happy to see so many other success stories at the event, as I was.”

GC Business Growth Hub has been helping Greater Manchester businesses grow and thrive since 2011. You can read more about their impact here – Our Impact | GC Business Growth Hub

GC Business Growth Hub was part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2021, as part of a portfolio of ERDF-funded programmes designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. Working in partnership with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.

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