The Intelligent Choice for Innovation

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Helping you through the innovation challenge. With dedicated and specialist support to eliminate financial risk and uncertainty, giving you the best possible chance at launching a new innovation.

On average it takes 19 months for a UK SME to take an idea from the drawing board to a finished product


Innovation means many things to many people, but it’s far from simply being about new inventions. It could involve a new product, a new service, a new process, a new way of marketing an existing product or even a more radical innovation, such as looking at an entirely new business model.

We understand the difficulties in developing new ideas and the time needed to do this – sometimes referred to as the Innovation Cycle. In UK, on average it takes 19 months for SMEs to take an idea from the drawing board to a finished product and being first in the market can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.

We can help you identify opportunities, evaluate your ideas and connect you with the right contacts and resources you need to get them to market.


Who is the service for?

Whether you are an established business that needs to reinvent and re-energise itself, or run a business with a disruptive technology that’s set to transform a market, harnessing innovation will be crucial for your future growth. The service is designed to support you in tackling those barriers which are holding you back.

About the service

To guide and support entrepreneurs and businesses through the innovation challenge, we have developed a comprehensive Innovation Growth Service.

You will work with a dedicated innovation advisor who has specific technology and sector experience. Typically the process starts with an innovation diagnostic to establish where you are on the innovation life cycle.

Using specialist tools and techniques we’ll work with you to eliminate financial risk and uncertainty and give you the best possible chance to launch a new innovation.

We can also help with specialist funding, and have excellent links with a wide range of knowledge providers and access to the very best experts across the North West, UK and Europe.

Typical innovation support includes:

  •          Assistance in identifying innovation opportunities
  •          Access to a technical or technology specialist
  •          Market research
  •          Product, process or service design
  •          Intellectual property
  •          Prototyping
  •          Market and product testing
  •          Market exploitation

Meet the team

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Chris Greenhalgh

Head of Innovation Programme Development

Joining the Manchester Growth Company in 2011 as the Business Growth Hub Manager, Chris was instrumental in developing the Hub’s growth services, from initial design through to the current level of activity.


Following the significant expansion of the Hub over the last two years, Chris’s current role gives him  responsibility for the  development of future Hub programmes, Innovation services and partner development. He also supports the contract management of the Hub’s ERDF and RGF funded growth programme.


Chris previously worked at various senior levels in the private and public sectors, designing and implementing business innovation services and finance products at a local, regional and European level.

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Yvonne Grady

Innovation Team Leader

Yvonne is an established business and innovation manager with over 25 years’ experience in the manufacturing, engineering, business and professional service sectors.  She has worked on numerous high growth innovative projects, helping to take hundreds of new products and services from concept through to commercialisation.

As well as working with businesses such as Unilever, Jaguar Land Rover and the Pera Group, Yvonne has also worked with SMEs at board level, helping to opportunities for innovation improvements that can add value to the bottom line. 

During her career, Yvonne has developed extensive project and programme management experience in both the public and private sectors, including working with Lancaster University’s  Management School Innovation Growth Programme.

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Kim Delaney

Innovation Growth Co-ordinator

With experience working alongside high growth technology companies across Greater Manchester as part of the digital team, Kim has a strong focus of customer service and client satisfaction. Kim is passionate and enthusiastic when it comes to helping companies to grow through innovative ideas and new working methods. Working to support both clients and the internal innovation team, Kim is meticulous, flexible and has a keen eye for detail.

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Sonia Neto

Innovation Advisor

Sonia has four years’ experience as a strategist and business developer for several London consultancies. She is now supporting Greater Manchester businesses in New Product Development (NPD), service and business design. Prior to this she spent ten years heading the design team at the ceramics manufacturer Faria & Bento in her native Portugal. She developed and managed products sold all over the world for brands such as Nigella Lawson, Orla Kiely and Wedgwood. Sonia has both a BA degree in Industrial Design from IADE (Portugal) and a MA degree in Innovation Management from the University of the Arts, London.

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Paul Halliday

Innovation Advisor

Paul has extensive experience of working with SMEs, and helping to drive profitable growth by  using proven innovation tools and techniques.  He has worked with owner managers and senior management teams across a wide range of sectors including advanced engineering, manufacturing and professional services.

Paul also has wide general management experience and  has had day-to-day responsibility for sales, new product development, operations and administration, experience which enables him to rapidly gain an understanding of the issues impacting on growth potential and quickly identify tangible, realistic and innovative solutions to drive business forward.

He has an MBA from Manchester Business School, an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering and post graduate qualifications in Finance and Accounting.

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Andy Baker

Innovation Advisor - Health and Life Sciences

Andy has over 20 years of experience in the private sector commercialising and delivering complex business and innovative solutions for over 100 global clients.  During this time he has recruited, retained and developed numerous high performing teams to achieve strategic business objectives.  He also has a wealth of experience in consulting to develop strategic business plans and raise finance for new product development. He’s most recently worked on innovation projects including marketing solutions, Internet of Things, cloud, hosting and software for wellness, health, and life science sector companies. 

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Susan Ingham

Innovation Advisor

Susan has been working with and advising SMEs for over 25 years across many sectors.  As a business owner and entrepreneur, she has first-hand experience of the kinds of challenges that growing businesses face as well as the understanding and practical know-how to address them.  Her wide management experience means that she is also able to support business owners to identify opportunities to drive growth.

Susan has a long and successful track record in innovation.  She conceived and launched Europe’s first equestrian Internet TV channel and community network.  She developed some of the first content marketing strategies for brands and organisations across sectors, particularly in the professional services, health and creative and digital sectors. Susan has an MBA, Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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Susan Warburton

Business Development Manger, University of Bolton

Susan has over 25 years business development experience, working in senior business support positions at the Business Growth Service and organisations such as Magma Digital. In these roles, Susan was responsible for delivering bespoke, innovative solutions to help Greater Manchester businesses grow and has a proven record of improving the profitability of the companies she works with. Susan takes pride in delivering a first class, customer focused, quality service to her clients and is a qualified growth coach, mentor and trainer with experience in company mergers, acquisitions and raising finance.

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Dharma Nurse

Business Development Manager, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dharma has considerable experience working with different engineering and manufacturing sectors and supply chains. She has recently worked on the Greater Manchester manufacturing strategy and action plan, and was the North West Business Development Manager of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and Business Growth Service. With a strong background in skills, Dharma helped to set up and run a Sector Skills Council for manufacturing and has worked with a host of companies to deliver key Lean Manufacturing projects. She also managed the piloting of the Food Manufacturing Excellence qualification, focussing on process innovation within the food and drink industry.

Dharma organised collaboration with the National Graphene Institute, Business Growth Hub and Business Growth Service to host a series of commercialisation workshops during Graphene Week 2015 and she has since hosted collaborations with Innovate UK and The Knowledge Transfer Network on this topic at Venturefest.  

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Rick Watson

Business Development Manager, University of Manchester

Rick has over 19 years post-doctoral experience in developing and supporting knowledge transfer both from a university and commercial perspective.  He has practical experience of leadership, sales and marketing, business development, quality management and new product & service innovations in academia, spinout companies and SMEs.

Prior to his joining the Hub, Rick worked for eight years in management consulting as a senior innovation consultant, running his own business for 6 years. He also worked for six years in technology / knowledge transfer whilst employed by the University of Salford. Before his tenure at Salford, Rick spent 6 years in Biotech in a variety of roles, including quality management and business development many of which included working closely with University, Research Institute, and NHS based organisations.

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Stephen Ellison

Business Development Manager, University of Salford

Stephen has significant experience of sales and marketing where the primary objective has invariably been to liaise with the client to identify and fine-tune the priority need before providing a targeted solution. Much of Stephens experience has been focused on business development roles in the banking, telecoms and media sectors, he has also forged successful relationships with those responsible for sourcing major public procurement contracts, particularly in the health and education sectors.  Stephen has the ability to collaborate with staff at all levels within any given organisation, whether it be public sector or private sector.

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How to access the service

For more information, please contact: 


Tel: 0161 359 3050

Business Growth Hub

Churchgate House
56 Oxford Street
M1 6EU

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