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