20 February 2018
Why is Manchester proving such a magnet for businesses and what opportunities await SMEs? We take a closer look.
With the Northern Powerhouse attracting much attention in recent months, all eyes have been on Manchester - arguably one of the biggest success stories in the north, with an economy which is growing faster than London’s, according to a recent CEBR report. We take a closer look at how Manchester’s business market is growing and what opportunities are being created for SMEs.
What’s going on in Manchester?
Manchester’s famous symbol of a worker bee has never been more apt, as the city’s economy continues to flourish and attract more businesses and investment. The UK Powerhouse report from the CEBR showed that the economy in Greater Manchester has grown by 7.5 per cent since 2014, compared to 6.9 per cent in London, while Manchester city itself has seen growth of a massive 9.1 per cent. And this growth is showing no signs of slowing, with the report forecasting that the Manchester economy will expand an impressive 14.8 per cent over the next ten years.
Recent years have seen dozens of big companies make the move north to Manchester in search of more affordable office space, from the BBC to Google, Amazon and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. And there is plenty of space for more businesses to join the Northern Powerhouse - the latest Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey highlighted six new developments which will bring the amount of office space in the city currently under construction to in excess of 1.5 million square feet.
Simon Bedford, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: "New office construction is regarded as a key barometer for the economy, the real estate industry, and ultimately, Manchester’s benchmark in its mission to achieve status as a global city.
"Manchester’s ability to attract commercial investment has not waned and businesses are demonstrating a desire to settle in the city."
One of the most high-profile new developments in Manchester is the impressive No.1 Spinningfields, the city’s newest high-rise. Comprising office space, residential apartments, shops, restaurants and bars, it has been chosen as office space provider WeWork’s first UK site outside of London and has been hitting headlines thanks to its highly-anticipated 20 Stories eatery offering panoramic views of the city.
The development, which is expected to hold 17,000 resident workers and attract 14,000 visitors a day is a prime example of what is attracting both new businesses and employees to Manchester.
Opportunities for small businesses
While big businesses are flocking to take advantage of the booming economy in Manchester, there are also plenty of opportunities for smaller start-ups.
In fact, the city has seen a 36 per cent rise in the number of active small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) since 2010, according to a report for npower business by Capital Economics, marking the most significant SME growth in the UK and creating 27,000 jobs. By 2020, it’s thought SMEs in Manchester will be generating as much as £12 billion annually towards the economy and have created a further 16,000 employment opportunities.
So what exactly is it about Manchester that attracts SMEs?
The city is known for having a great ecosystem of large and small companies working side by side, meaning there’s space for companies of all sizes within the bustling city centre. As well as all the aspects that attract bigger companies, like great transport links from Manchester Airport and the expanding Metro link, affordable office space and a wealth of talented job-seekers emerging from the city’s universities, start-ups benefit from plenty of co-working spaces and support from the city’s universities, including Manchester Metropolitan’s business incubator which offers office facilities, business support and mentoring to start-ups.
Dale Murray, board advisor at the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: “Manchester’s energy and verve shows in its clear opportunities for entrepreneurs to start new businesses and to expand existing ones in the city.
“Affordable business rates, living conditions and workforce skills are all crucial to attracting SMEs. I hope that policy makers continue to do everything that they can to build on the current momentum, so that SMEs continue to thrive in the city.”
NIG in Manchester
It is no coincidence NIG has a large and expanding trading office in the centre of Manchester. Both brokers and businesses can benefit from NIG’s commercial insurance experience, expertise and local knowledge. Based just outside of Spinningfields on Quay Street the team are perfectly positioned to trade with brokers face to face or on the phone.
If you would like to find out more about how NIG can help you win and retain business please contact our team.