Opinion: Businesses in Manchester have the ingredients to thrive

What does the Square Mile have to do with Greater Manchester? A surprising amount, it seems.

It was refreshing to see Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, sitting down in Manchester recently, speaking with Andy Burnham about shared opportunities like trade and fintech.

In an uncertain political environment, it’s always heartening to see different regions thinking about ways to collaborate.

In my view, it’s essential for cities like Manchester, Birmingham and London to explore ways of working better together.

Tech company UKFast is just one example of this. As a Manchester firm rumoured to be exploring a London public listing, UKFast shows that successful businesses need to acknowledge the different ways in which regional UK economies can serve their needs.

With a thriving tech culture in Manchester complementing London’s financial centre, UKFast has benefited from the diversity of the UK’s business climate.

UKFast offices
(Image: Pip Rustage)

It’s clear that – trains aside – Manchester has all the ingredients businesses need to flourish. With a young, talented workforce and an array of nationally significant organisations with presences in the area (including the BBC), prospects in Manchester are bright.

However, like other parts of the UK, Manchester’s business owners might need more support when it comes to finance.

In a survey, Growth Street conducted in January this year, less than a third (32%) of Manchester-based respondents said that they were confident in knowing what kinds of funding might be available for their business.

Our SMEs deserve the best support from their advisors. Why shouldn’t finance providers – incumbents and challengers alike – be invested in the long-term prospects of Greater Manchester’s businesses? If it results in a few more success stories like UKFast, so much the better.

What do you think finance providers are missing when it comes to understanding your business?

Let me know at greg@growthstreet.co.uk.

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