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Greater Manchester is at a turning point, said Joe Manning of MIDAS. Credit: Marketing Manchester


UKREiiF | Why Manchester is the UK’s leading city for investment

Joe Manning square, p Marketing Manchester

Joe Manning is managing director of MIDAS. Credit: via Marketing Manchester

The city region has transformative plans for the future and investors are taking note, writes Joe Manning of MIDAS.

Right now, our city is at a significant turning point. Across Greater Manchester, the public and private sectors are collaborating with communities to create a prosperous economy. These partnerships and shared vision will be on display at UKREiiF in Leeds this week.

Manchester has recently been named the top large UK city of the future in The Financial Times’ FDi international investment ranking, with results showing Greater Manchester as the leading city region for FDI, outside of London. The Brabners Northern Investment Index report also shows that the city is set to be the UK’s most attractive city for institutional investors in 2023.

Sector strengths

Manchester has a long-standing reputation as a leading city for advanced materials and manufacturing, health and life sciences, digital and tech, creative and media – as well as green and net zero innovations. With five leading universities and an enviable lifestyle offering, our city has no problem attracting and retaining world-class talent across our region’s core sectors and beyond.

Now, the city region is proving its strengths in new markets. By way of example, Manchester has recently been identified as the largest FinTech ecosystem outside of London in research by Whitecap. The sector now employs over 10,000 across the city and is expected to be worth over £1bn to our local economy over the next twelve months. CRBE also ranked Manchester as the leading tech city outside of London last year.

A culture of innovation

Leaning on our rich industrial heritage, strengths in innovation, and the commercialisation of these ideas are helping us to create an economy fit for Industry 4.0. Atom Valley is a public-private partnership with plans to build an advanced manufacturing hub across sites in Bury, Oldham, and Rochdale. This will help us to continue our legacy as a leader in manufacturing and industry while simultaneously stimulating growth in new sectors, attracting world-class businesses, and providing fairer opportunities for the local community.

Greater Manchester has identified six major investment locations to bring forward development across the city region with greener, fairer growth at its core. Atom Valley, Airport and Southern Growth Corridor, Eastern Growth Cluster, Western Gateway, and Wigan and Bolton Corridor will drive transformation across all corners of our city region. Each cluster will focus on specific sector strengths, taking the knowledge from our five leading universities and collaborating with industry to create jobs for our people and investment propositions that fill development partners with confidence.

Newly devolved powers

Greater Manchester’s new devolution deal is a landmark moment for our region, giving us more ability to improve the lives of the people who live and work here. Control over post-16 technical education, transport, and housing creates an engaging investment proposition in the region that can benefit all residents.

Our control over skills means that employers coming to Manchester can have confidence in the talent pool. Bloomberg recently reported that Manchester had outranked London as the best place for new jobs in England and this is only set to improve with our new devolved powers. An integrated technical-education city region means we can respond to skills demand, creating more opportunities for young people and providing the necessary talent locally for businesses in our core sectors of advanced manufacturing, digital, health and life sciences, net zero, creative, media, and financial services.

The ability to bring to life our vision for a London-style integrated transport system, the Bee Network, will improve business connectivity in the city. From ensuring talent can easily access opportunities across the region, to better connections with our neighbouring cities, transport is a key enabler for growth. Now in our hands, we can ensure Greater Manchester’s connectivity supports businesses and investors across the UK.

Commitment to sustainability

Greater Manchester is working towards a science-based target to become net zero by 2038, which is twelve years ahead of the UK government’s target. As sustainability becomes a priority for us all, in every aspect of daily life, knowing that Greater Manchester is leading the way to net zero instils confidence in our investors. Public and private sector partners across the region are coming together to push the boundaries of what net zero developments can be and are continuing to prioritise low-carbon innovations like Concretene, a graphene-enhanced, low-carbon alternative to concrete that was developed right here in Manchester and is set to revolutionise sustainable construction.

Our commitment to tackling the issue of climate change shows that Manchester is a forward-thinking region determined to make a city fit for future generations to thrive. Like-minded investors can join us to create a sustainable future and help us meet our ambitious goals.

Public-private sector relations

One of the most significant assets that attending place promotion events like UKREiiF highlights, is the strength of Manchester’s public and private sector collaboration. In Greater Manchester, we have a unified and strong vision for the future, to create a greener, fairer, and more prosperous city region. Private sector partners across the region know that if they invest in Manchester they invest in that vision and must join us for the journey. This strong sense of purpose instils confidence in Manchester’s offer and allows us to find long-term development partners that share the same values and ambitions.

The Mancunian way

Manchester has a reputation for being a pioneering city. We’re not only an industrial city, but one that has created genres of music and social movements, one that is renowned for creativity and radical thinking and to top it off, we’re pretty good at sport too. Mancunians are notoriously friendly, in fact, we’ve been voted the second friendliest city in the world. The city always has a buzz about it, which is why it’s such an attractive proposition to investors.

Here in Manchester, we know that we’re one of the world’s leading cities in so many respects. Now with the opening of new global arts venues like Factory International and many tourism accolades like Lonely Planet and National Geographic naming Manchester a must-visit city, investors can have the confidence that they’re investing in a vibrant, dynamic, global city with character that will stand the test of time.

With so many ground-breaking projects already taking place across Greater Manchester and a rise in investment outside of the capital, it’s no surprise that the city is becoming an exciting proposition for transformational investment. The team at MIDAS, the city region’s inward investment agency, is here to support taking the city on this journey.

  • Joe Manning is the managing director of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency

MIDAS logo Manchester at UKREiiF logo

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It’s been apparent for quite some time that the huge inward investment in Manchester has led to significant growth in offices, apartments hotels and all of the jobs that come with them as evidenced by the many reports like Deloitte etc.The transformation has been astonishing but a lot still needs to be done . Transport and infrastructure is changing quickly but taking stock of how the city works and indeed looks is an important step and needs to be baked in , not added on. We are beyond just needing investment to replace those old buildings and surface car parks and into the next phase of growing into a true global city.

By Anonymous

Of course it is. That much has been obvious for a long time. The next phase should be even more exciting done correctly . integrated transport across the city will be a huge positive and with HS2 on the way and the expansion of the airport, both national and international links will only strengthen investment.

By John

That is all very well but two issue come to mind – the quality of the public realm is currently pretty appalling (not everywhere but over all impression isn’t great) then you have the transport issue – trams are not the answer to anything much now! Cutting off Oldham from the rail network (which is faster and would have more capacity ultimately) and leaving Bury congested for the same reason isn’t good planning. Heavy rail metro needs a vast investment or a segregated metro system is required. The second largest metropolitan area at about 5.5 million in the 6th largest economy in the world and there is not metro, and the heavy rail metro is under-invested in to make it like London’s heavy rail metro network (far larger than the Underground). The best Manchester is offering is a small tram extension in the 2030’s!!! Surely there needs to be far more ambition here.

By Richard

Richard makes a good point but without government money, these things will not be built. The Metrolink in the centre is bordering on useless, far too slow. An Underground train in London takes seconds between stations, the Metrolink takes forever , to get from Victoria to Deansgate. How is that going to improve productivity. The public realm remains an embarrassment.

By Elephant

Agree with the comments.
Provision of underground rail throughout the city centre and replacing the over ground routes with pedestrianised/cycle routes and quality public realm.

By Anonymous

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