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Greater Manchester takes inclusive growth message to national audience

Representatives from Greater Manchester’s business community took a very Mancunian message to London as part of the recent Geatahead festival. Hosted on June 14th at the Omeara live music venue near London Bridge, Getahead is a fast-growing not-for-profit mental health event with a 25-year plan to positively impact a billion people.

Getahead 2019 featured a wide range of expert speakers, practical productivity workshops and interactive activities which linked together mindfulness, workplace wellbeing and better financial health.

A special discussion panel, entitled Profit, Planet, People – how Greater Manchester is embracing inclusive growth to transform its communities and empower its people, was also part of this year’s programme.

Taking part were Richard Jeffrey, Director of Business Growth at the Growth Company, Elizabeth Vega, Group CEO of Altrincham-based Informed Solutions, Patricia Keating, Executive Director of Tech Manchester, and Neil Robinson, Group CSR & Future Airspace Director for Manchester Airport Group (MAG).

The aim of the session was to showcase the rapid progress Greater Manchester is making on the adoption of inclusive growth as a guiding, strategic principle. Inclusive growth is based on the idea that economic growth driven by business can also greatly benefit local communities, and the wider conurbation as a whole, without compromising commercial success.
Some of the key drivers to achieving this include investing in employees, buying locally whenever possible, reducing a company’s environmental impact, offering local employment and training opportunities, and being a good corporate citizen. Greater Manchester is considered to be leading the UK in terms of how it is embedding the principles of inclusive growth into the way it does business, and how it is now permeating every aspect of public policy and public investment.
The Profit, Planet, People panel gave the Greater Manchester-based participants the chance to explain what they were doing within their respective organisations with regards to inclusive growth, and how it was benefitting their business and their local communities.

To set the scene Richard Jeffery explained how Greater Manchester’s commitment to inclusive growth had come about through discussions with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
He also outlined how the Growth Company was now cascading the inclusive growth message though its own operating companies, and the thousands of business customers they in turn support.

Richard Jeffery also gave details of the evolving GM Good Employment Charter which sets out to help local companies drive growth and generate more ‘good jobs’ through responsible business practices. ‘Good jobs’ are those that are considered sustainable, fairly paid, secure and that help to generate prosperity in the wider community. The different panellists then described the range of projects they have developed which look to encourage their own staff to be positive employees and productive citizens. They also talked about programmes and initiatives they support or run which engage positively with their respective local communities.

Richard Jeffrey said of the event: “We called the session Profit, Planet, People because they are the fundamental building blocks of any thriving, successful and just society. Research has further shown that companies which recognise the importance of these elements, which also underpin the principles of inclusive growth, can maintain a profitable, growing business while also making a positive social impact. It was therefore fantastic that Greater Manchester was given a prestigious platform at the Getahead festival to explain what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why it matters, to a national audience. I would also like to thank all of the participants who brilliantly articulated the different steps they themselves are taking to help make Greater Manchester a stronger, fairer and more resilient place commercially, culturally and socially. As a result of this event I hope that some of our insights have inspired others to consider how an inclusive growth strategy could benefit them.”

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