Will we or won’t we? Is Manchester set to become the new hub for economic growth outside of London?
The rhetoric surrounding Manchester’s up and coming status as an economic powerhouse can be difficult to navigate. How much of this is conjecture based on the ambition of a few champions of Manchester’s potential and how much of it based in reality?
“To connect up great cities of the north
and surrounding counties…”
– George Osborne
There is evidence to suggest that Manchester is in fact at the centre of the rising status of the North. Last year, several of the largest IPOs in the UK were north west-based companies such as Manchester based boohoo.com and 4dPharma.
As Manchester becomes increasingly well represented by private equity operators and venture capital firms, the city is likely to be home to more success stories as businesses have access to the tools and investment they need to grow.
With last week’s announcement of Central government’s Tech North initiative, the northern counterpart to London’s Tech City, the North is about to get a major boost to its infrastructure that will make it possible for innovation and for new technology start-ups to take root. Though this has not been confirmed, there is a very good chance that Manchester could be at the centre of this program, which will serve to attract more talent and entrepreneurship to the city.
Furthermore, Manchester has recently received an additional £56m in an expansion of the Government Growth Deals. Prime Minister Cameron describes these deals as being “about backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for hardworking people and supercharge all parts of our country.” This funding will help Manchester to further develop along these lines.
Looking at Manchester’s history of recovery, reinvigoration and innovation— it certainly seems that the city’s potential to become a new economic hub is much more than a parochial pipe dream.