Janine Smith has been appointed as the new Director of Greater Manchester’s GC Business Growth Hub.
The first female director to lead the GC Business Growth Hub, Smith has been with the Hub for the last eight years.
She is taking over the reins from Richard Jeffery, who founded and led the Hub over the past 10 years. Jeffery is stepping up to lead the development and expansion of The Growth Company’s business support services across the UK.
Smith started her career in sales and marketing for Bellway Homes, a national property development company, before moving into teaching business and management studies at a high school and then Accrington and Rossendale College.
In 2005, she entered the world of business support as an operations team leader for Business Link North West, before becoming Director of Enterprise and Skills at Orvia, a Lancashire-based enterprise agency.
Smith joined Greater Manchester’s GC Business Growth Hub in 2013 as a start-up manager before being promoted to Head of Growth Services.
She took on the role of Head of Specialist Services in 2018, leading the Hub’s sector specialist and growth teams, managing a range of successful multi-million-pound contracts and programmes.
“Richard has been a brilliant founding director and ambassador for our business community, and I am proud to be continuing his legacy,” Smith said.
“The Hub makes a real difference to the lives of businesses across our region and I am so proud of the work we do.
“I am really looking forward to leading us in the next stage of our journey and continuing to drive the support and services that we deliver for our amazing entrepreneurs.
“The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for the entire business community and I’m proud that our teams have been there to offer support and advice for those who need it the most. We will continue to be here for our businesses, every step of the way.”
In his new role as National Director, Jeffery will lead the development and national positioning of GC Business, leading on a range of national business support services, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships, Combined Authorities, Government and private backers.
The development of the Growth Company’s national proposition comes almost 10 years after the Growth Company invested in and developed England’s first Business Growth Hub in Greater Manchester.
It has since become the blueprint for a network of 38 Business Growth Hubs which facilitate local and national business support programmes.
Jeffery said: “Janine has been a core part of the leadership of the Business Growth Hub for many years and she is really committed to supporting the business community.
“As an experienced operational and development director, Janine is ideally placed to lead the Hub and I wish her every success.
“It is 10 years since I was set the task of establishing the Business Growth Hub and I am incredibly proud of the impact our teams have on the business community that we serve.
“I am delighted to be taking on an exciting new role to establish GC Business and expand our national business support activities.”