GC Business Growth Hub, which helps businesses at all stages of their growth journey, is setting its sights on creating tens of thousands of jobs for Greater Manchester as it celebrates its tenth birthday.
While the organisation reflects on engaging with and supporting more than 75,000 SMEs, self-employed and people looking to start a business, work is taking place to set even more ambitious targets.
Janine Smith, Director of the Hub, says: "We've evolved the Hub significantly over the last 10 years, expanding our range of services and support programmes, and looking at major national and international growth opportunities for the companies we work with.
"We are proud to have already helped so many Greater Manchester SMEs, and are now in a position to provide support for each of the 100,000 businesses in the city-region.
"The Hub has raised nearly £300m in finance offers for small and medium-sized businesses and I think we can strive for an additional £500m in the decade to come. Likewise, where we've created more than 13,000 jobs so far, we are looking to hit the 50,000 mark in the next 10 years."
Launched in 2011 as the national business support landscape was changing, the Business Growth Hub represented the first organisation of its kind. Under the leadership of Richard Jeffery, it served as the inspiration for a model now replicated in 38 areas across England.
In the last 10 years, the organisation, which is part of the Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, has not only created more than 13,600 jobs but safeguarded a further 12,000.
Richard Jeffery, who now leads the Growth Company’s national proposition, GC Business, as National Director, says: "When the Hub was launched, we imagined it becoming an exemplar of public and private collaboration, and we have been incredibly successful in enabling ambitious leaders, business and places to achieve their full potential.
“The Hub is a fantastic example of how the Growth Company delivers highly effective development services across the UK, working with local economic development leaders, government and private partners."
As the Hub has expanded, so has its range of services, including dedicated programmes to help businesses to embrace digital transformation and ‘green growth’. The Hub has helped SMEs in Greater Manchester to save £500m in energy, material and waste costs, and two million tonnes of carbon.
Janine adds: "Green business is a major focus for us now and that will only grow in the future. We want to help more businesses to assess their carbon footprints and analyse the opportunities for growth in an emerging industry. We've commissioned research, established our own low carbon network for local business, and are consistently horizon scanning for opportunities.
"Likewise, digital transformation has been a major priority for businesses over the last two years, and we want to support them to go even further and fully embrace the spirit of innovation. We are also endeavouring to highlight opportunities in social enterprise, while being committed to ensuring that all growth is inclusive, sustainable and leaves no person or community behind."
Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com.
This and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. The Hub is also supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester local authorities.