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Greater Manchester Calls For Private Sector Projects

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership have put out a call to the private sector for projects to help deliver the next phase of economic growth in the region

Published on March 2nd 2012.

Greater Manchester Calls For Private Sector Projects

IN A FIRST for the UK, all ten local authorities in Greater Manchester are working to deliver a single investment strategy, underpinned by a new Greater Manchester Investment Team. The team will work to support projects and enable them to access the most appropriate sources of funding.

At an event at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday 1 March, business leaders from across Greater Manchester were invited to submit projects that could support this approach.

For businesses with strong projects planned, this will give them a real boost to help them get the projects off the ground and make the most of funding opportunities. Businesses really have nothing to lose by sending in their proposals.

The idea is to create an investment cycle, enabling businesses to invest in projects that will drive economic growth and generate commercial returns. The investment will then be repaid to create a fund for further development. This will move away from dependency on grants and create a mature economy that re-invests in itself to create sustainable and strong growth in output and employment.

Greater Manchester’s single investment strategy is underpinned by the availability of a range of financial support, totalling more than £100m. These include the Regional Growth Fund, Growing Places Fund, Evergreen Fund, European Regional Development Fund and the Homes and Communities Agency. Each of the funds has different eligibility criteria, which means that a broad spectrum of development propositions can be considered.

Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said: "This event gives us an opportunity to find the best possible projects to help boost the Greater Manchester economy and will create tens of thousands of jobs for the region.

"The projects involved will get specialist support from the investment team, but this is not about getting free money. In order to be successful, these projects have to deliver real benefits for the region’s economy and be able to re-invest in the fund.

"This is a revolutionary way of working for local government, with all ten AGMA authorities working as a single team to drive regional investment. We recognise that each area has its own offer and by channelling opportunities through a single investment team, we can make the most of all of our strategic sites and opportunities.

"For businesses with strong projects planned, this will give them a real boost to help them get the projects off the ground and make the most of funding opportunities. Businesses really have nothing to lose by sending in their proposals.

"For us, this process helps us to identify the absolute best projects for Greater Manchester and make sure those we take forward will stimulate and drive our regional economy."

Lord Smith, Leader of Wigan Council and Chair of AGMA, said: "Greater Manchester has a long history of working together for the benefit of the region as a whole.

"The next obvious step was for us to plan the next stages of our economic growth in a much more singular way. That is why AGMA has invested in our core team, because we know that by working with businesses and projects right across Greater Manchester, and connecting the people who live in our communities to the jobs created, we will get much better outcomes than by working alone.

"This will also help to demystify the many and varied funding streams that can prove to be a nightmare for the private sector."

Mike Blackburn, Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership for Greater Manchester, said: Since the establishment of the LEP we have overseen two rounds of the Regional Growth Fund and development of the Evergreen fund. The private sector very much welcomes the mature approach and look forward to seeing the fruits of our labours succeed.

The team is looking for projects that are ready to start in 2012-2013.

Anyone with a project that is currently ready-to-go should submit an expression of interest by 30 March 2012. The can be sent to submissions@agma.gov.uk. Further details can be found at www.agma.gov.uk

Case Studies showing benefits of Single Investment Team approach

Eye Hospital

A £2m RGF Fund is being established to provide Research and Development grants to firms taking laboratory space at the ongoing £21m redevelopment of the Former Royal Eye Hospital on Oxford Road, Manchester. This 100k square feet scheme, by Manchester headquartered UK regional office and science park developers Bruntwood, will create a world class biomedical facility which is located on the NHS campus at the heart of Europe’s largest single academic and clinical site. Completion is due in Autumn 2013. The development is supported by MCC, the Central Manchester Universities NHS Trust, and the European Regional Development Fund demonstrating how Greater Manchester's approach can succeed in drawing a range of public and private partners together in developing a project and attracting a range of funding sources to deliver strategically important investments which support growth and job creation.

SME Loan Fund

The SME Loan Fund provides additional capital to existing loan funds that provide lower-value debt-finance for business of less than £50,000. To date, more than £6m of loans has been granted to more than 360 businesses.  The injection of £5m of new loan funds will lever an additional £8.9m creating a total loan fund of £13.9m.  In turn this will allow for a further 985 businesses to be supported with debt-finance by 2022.  The expansion of lower-value debt finance complements a number of existing services and products including the region's Access to Finance Service that provides finance advice for small and medium sized businesses, the North West Fund which provides debt and equity finance between £50,000 and £2m and North West Business Angels which supports businesses requiring up to £500,000 from Angel investors.  For more information contact the Access to Finance team on 0161 359 3050.

Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone

The essential vision for the Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone is of an area driven by the economic activity generated by the airport, and the proposed Airport City and Manchester Medi-Park initiatives, complemented by a series of opportunity sites in South Manchester. The proposed zone is scaled to include those sites which can maximise additionality to Airport City and Manchester Medi-Park, generating a development capacity within the context of realistic estimates of those projects and Greater Manchester demand so as to minimise relocation from existing regional employment areas – and to focus support employment generated by the core sites in the immediate vicinity.

The EZ focuses on development opportunities to accommodate businesses that may not have considered locating in the region or even the UK prior to the development of Airport City. Such businesses are those which will benefit from the high level of connectivity provided by proximity to an international airport but which are from a wider range of sectors and of a more varied size than is traditionally found at sites close to a major airport. Including: European Regional HQ, offices, logistics, advanced manufacturing and supporting retail and leisure, including hotels and conferencing facilities. Complementing these will be health and biotech related research and development, training facilities associated with the Medi-Park, which also benefit from the proximity of Manchester Airport.

Manchester Airport is already a major employer, supporting 19,000 direct jobs, and a further 13,000 indirect and 9,000 induced jobs, according to a recent economic impact report for MAG. The 41,000 jobs directly and indirectly are estimated to be worth £1 billion in regional income.

Port Salford

The completion of Western Gateway Enabling Scheme (WGES) at Port Salford will allow the development of the full Barton Strategic Employment Site to be realised. The site has planning approval for development including, in particular, a multimodal freight terminal, known as Port Salford National Import Centre, with 153,000sqm of rail connected warehousing.

WGES was the outcome of the deliberations of a transport group which included the respective highways departments and the Highways Agency. This is part of a wider development of the area. RGF funding is to part finance the £50m WGES component of the development.

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Martin WaringMarch 2nd 2012.

This seems like a sensible move, what with the banks still difficult to extract loans from

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