Manchester’s next big focus


I participated in an interesting debate on Thursday last week on how to strengthen the Greater Manchester economy through science and innovation. There were some really lively comments including Sue Woodward’s from the Sharp project – the essence being lets stop talking about strategy and policy and get on and do stuff. Those comments were totally endorsed by myself as a passionate advocate for getting on and growing the economy through supporting high growth companies in the Region. We must make the transition from policy to “how to…….and action”. We are drowning in strategy studies and reports, to be honest, I am quite dizzy with it all, reading them could quite easily become a full time job. Lets get on and build on the good work already underway.

There have been some fantastic examples of regeneration projects in Greater Manchester and the broader North West. In recent years MIDAS has done some brilliant work in attracting inward investment – going forward, we must start to focus on growing our own talent. That means identifying and working with those entrepreneurs who can grow their business to say 50 employees and above, more gazelles! Building on my blog from last Saturday I am sure there must be a potential “Google” or “Facebook” type sat on our doorstep. One thing is for sure we have the talent – we just don’t have the breeding ground for them to surface. Well not yet!

I am massively in favour of attracting foreign investment, however we need to nurture and grow our own superstars – those global businesses headquartered in our backyard.

It about harnessing ambition and doing something with it. In May 1904 Charles Stewart Rolls met Henry Royce in the Midland Hotel in Manchester – it’s where salesman met inventor. That meeting led to the start of one of the world’s greatest brands and success stories in history. A Daily Telegraph article wrote Just hours before Charles Stewart Rolls met Henry Royce he confided to a friend that he had but one ambition: to be the greatest name in motoring.

Its individuals with this drive and clarity of personal intention who need help. Fusing great commercial propositions with entrepreneurial flair and determined mindsets is what will drive our economy – not only in Manchester and the North West but also nationally. In my opinion this is what the LEPS should be doing.