The Growth Company (GC) was awarded Gold in the Best Covid Response Campaign category at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) PRide North West Awards, held virtually on Tuesday 5 October.

The prize was awarded to GC for its #HereForBusiness campaign which developed an emergency support services for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually managing more than 29,000 enquiries from businesses across Greater Manchester (GM).   

Mark Hughes, Group Chief Executive of GC, praised the work done by his colleagues: 
“This award acknowledges the hard work and dedication behind the #HereForBusiness campaign which had to raise awareness and drive immediate action. Speed was of the essence and the scale of the pandemic meant we only had a few days for planning.

“The GC Marketing and Communications team did a truly exceptional job in navigating government guidance and and the financial support on offer, and delivering a campaign that kept businesses informed and able to adapt. This was no easy feat but this has been applauded by businesses and partners, and this award is deserved recognition of that.”

Spanning the full marketing mix the campaign included a COVID-19 microsite, which provided resources on immediate challenges for business such as supporting self-isolation, monitoring and managing cashflow and moving to remote working, which resulted in a 72% uplift in visitors to the website.

The campaign included a GC Business Survey which collected over 7,000 responses and vital intelligence to understand the impact of the pandemic and informed the response throughout the pandemic.

Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Backed by GM LEP, the #HereForBusiness campaign provided support exactly when it was needed, a great example of the incredible collective response to COVID that occurred across Greater Manchester.

“This response included administration of vital funding for businesses provided by GM LEP, part of a package of over £7m provided in financial support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) administered by GC Business Finance.

“Businesses needed immediate support and didn’t necessarily know where to turns so it was critical that the creative approach resonated instantly with Greater Manchester’s varied business community.”

GC also led the Economic Resilience working group for GM’s response to the pandemic, working with partners in Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Transport for Greater Manchester to develop public awareness campaigns and leading on communications to help ensure businesses played their part in keeping the city-region moving, while ensuring the safety of residents.  

Mark said: “It was important that the campaign created a supportive feeling and provided hope to the GM business community, but the work is still ongoing. Many of the impacts from the pandemic are unfolding and we are already working on new campaigns to mitigate the long-term risks.” 

Visit the North West CIPR PRide Awards 2021 website to view a full list of the winners.