Working with Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, The Growth Company has provided a comprehensive range of support for businesses and individuals navigating the economic impact of coronavirus

The public and private sector responded quickly to ensure that the worst potential economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic could be avoided in Greater Manchester, where businesses continue to show resilience and solidarity.

Working with Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), businesses within The Growth Company Group have provided a comprehensive range of business advice and support, with services flexing to meet the evolving needs of the business community.

The breadth of Growth Company expertise enabled timely responses to the evolving crisis, with service provision pivoted to enable digital delivery of services that were not available in person due to lockdown restrictions.

In partnership with business representative organisations including GM LEP, the GC Business Growth Hub’s #HereforBusiness campaign continues to reassure companies they are not alone. It provides specific support for the new challenges presented by coronavirus. This includes extensive support via the Hub’s coronavirus microsite, a series of webinars, and guides on issues such as cashflow management, contingency planning and remote working.

The Growth Company Coronavirus Economic Impact survey was launched to ascertain the most pressing concerns of the business community, enabling Greater Manchester’s response to be tailored accordingly, and providing vital insight to support the UK Government’s response. To date, the survey has been completed by representatives of more than 3,000 businesses.

Part of #HereForBusiness, a series of Strive and Thrive workshops were borne out of conversations with Greater Manchester SMEs, delivering content that would help them to manage the pandemic and develop their businesses.

Marketing Manchester has been especially focused in recent months on leading the way for recovery for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector in Greater Manchester.

It adapted to focus on support for the sector through initiatives including the Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub, which has been running since late March. Almost 2,000 beds were found for NHS workers in partnership with the Manchester Hoteliers Association.

Marketing Manchester has thrown its weight behind lobbying efforts for extensions to furlough and additional support for the sector. It developed the Greater Manchester Tourism Industry Emergency Response (TIER) group comprised of senior leaders from the public and private sector across our tourism, leisure and hospitality sector in preparation for the recovery task that lies ahead.

Early in the pandemic, MIDAS and the GMCA formed a PPE taskforce to source protective equipment for frontline workers.

GC Business Finance is administering the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) in the North West. A further £3m was made available by the GM LEP from the Local Growth Fund to support Greater Manchester businesses through the Greater Manchester Coronovirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to increase lending from £100,000 to £250,000 alongside existing Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund capital. To date, CBILS funding totalling £1.9m has been provided to 21 Greater Manchester businesses by GC Business Finance, including content Manchester-based marketing agency Contentology.

Following the £3m made available by GMCA and the GM LEP, businesses have also been able to access Early-Stage Investment delivered by GC Angels.

Businesses have also been supported in accessing funding and support available from Government, including hundreds of millions of pounds in grants available via local authorities.

In partnership with GM LEP and other delivery partners, Employ GM was launched to provide support for both employers and people whose roles have been displaced by the coronavirus.

It initially launched to connect employers with urgent vacancies to job hunters seeking opportunities and has flexed to provide specific support for sectors with the most pressing need, including retail. It provides signposting to skills advice, mental health support and training opportunities.

Kickstart is a new £2bn Government scheme that is creating hundreds of thousands of Government-subsidised job placements to help young people into work and support the UK’s economic revival.

The Growth Company is working businesses to deliver high-quality placements that go beyond the minimum requirements of the scheme to deliver an outstanding experience.

The Safely Reopening GM campaign launched back in June to support businesses by providing guidance and information to open their premises safely, and restart to economy.

As the economy shifts to reflect the changes brought about by coronavirus, the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter is part of a movement in Greater Manchester to ensure that economic recovery can benefit all.

There are many heartening examples of businesses large and small who have supported the challenge of coronavirus. The Hut Group has donated the equivalent of £10m, including donating £1m to charity and making and distributing £1m of hand sanitizer.

Many hoteliers, including GG Hospitality, have made rooms available to key workers.

Didsbury Gin, Zymurgorium and Tarsier Spirit are all Greater Manchester distillers who switched production to sanitising liquid, providing product to frontline workers in the region.

Allied Bakery, Stockport, has donated hundreds of loaves to needy causes.

Open Kitchen Manchester, the waste food catering social enterprise, has done incredible work, sending out 11,000 meals a week to vulnerable people.

Tibard, Dukinfield, and Saraco Industries, Bolton, are examples of companies who have experienced increased demand for their products. Tibard switched production from chef whites to NHS scrubs, Saraco saw increased demand for its anti-bacterial wipes.

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council, GMCA economy portfolio lead and GM LEP board member, said: “In business and in so many ways, we’ve shown that we’re stronger together, more confident, and ready to lead economic recovery for all.”

Working with GM LEP, The Growth Company has been able to offer support to businesses including Animation Toolkit