CEO Update

Sunday, 7th June 2020

I have been purposefully quiet over the past few weeks focusing my efforts on pro-manchester and its activity as well as continuing to work alongside my fellow Greater Manchester partners in supporting the wider strategic recovery of the region and its businesses.

As a not for profit membership organisation of which a large proportion of our activity is in the delivery of events, these past few months have undoubtedly been challenging but also extremely positive in equal measure. The support from our membership and the business community has been quite overwhelming.  We are continuing to invest in our digital infrastructure to ensure we are providing the best value, opportunities and support to our members, not just for now but also for long into the future in a post pandemic world. We stand firm in our view that there has never been a better time to grasp the opportunities of change presented before us. Today we have launched our new online business development opportunities. To view the packages please click here.

It is undoubtedly apparent that none of us wish to return to the same pre covid operations and there seems to be a real enthusiasm to make the most of this golden opportunity to make some significant differences within our businesses, especially for our employees and our region. This was the abundantly clear message that came out during a series of roundtable discussions that I have been hosting over the past few weeks. The sector focused roundtable discussions centred around the challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 and the complex considerations that are being made to bring people back to the office.

Equally there was a real desire for leaders to share their experiences amongst their peers, finding solace in understanding that this a complex and challenging coronacoaster and we are all feeling it. At the best of times we all know it can be extremely lonely at the top but it can be especially so when navigating unchartered waters like these where there is no definitive answer or previously written rule book to guide us through. Bearing that in mind, pro-manchester and the Growth Company will be continuing to offer as much support as possible. We will be delivering more of these focused roundtables, allowing business leaders to share experiences and offer advice and support to each other and I would like to offer my personal support to anyone who would like to reach out.

Our Mayor, the GM LEP and our regional leaders are also very focused on grasping the opportunities this crisis has brought to the fore and the main purpose of these roundtables is to inform and help shape the regional recovery strategy and to ensure that we as a region come back better. On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Andy Burnham, Co-chair of the GM LEP, Lou Cordwell and Chief Exec of the Growth Company, Mark Hughes delivered a webinar on the build back better campaign. If you missed it you can catch up here and to make your own contribution and join the #buildbackbetter movement please complete the form at the bottom of the page –

For businesses and business leaders in need of more support and direction don’t forget the dedicated #hereforbusiness campaign developed by the Growth Company. It is there for immediate advice and support. Please visit the website here for phone numbers and links

With the latest announcements from Government starting to release the restrictions of lockdown, businesses are now beginning to focus on bringing business and employees back into the office. Sadly, it seems the messages centrally have been unclear and caused yet more confusion. Undoubtedly things remain uncertain but behind the scenes GM is working very hard to provide frameworks, advice and support to guide business back into the workplace safely. Over the coming weeks we will see how this guidance translates. Ultimately it will be underpinned by the Government advice but delivery will be locally focused, adapting to the individual needs of the business and people of GM.

As part of our ‘a knowledge exchange’ seminars in partnership with Grayling, I am delighted to announce that on Friday the 26th June we will be joined by Mike Blackburn – Chairman of Marketing Manchester. Mike will be able to give us the latest on developments and updates on the work underway in encouraging our workforce, residents and tourists back into our regions cities, towns and surrounding areas. For more information click here

Also as part of the series we will also be joined by Vaughan Allen – Chief exec of CityCo, the Cities City Centre Management company, on the 19th June. Similarly, Vaughan will be able to reflect on the severe challenges the retail, hospitality and cultural sectors have faced over the past few months and how the regional sector plans to get back on its feet.

There is of course lots more happening at pro-manchester. To view our full webinar and events programme please click here and don’t worry if you missed any, you can go back and review them on our YouTube channel here.

As mentioned earlier, if you do wish to reach out or wish to discuss any of the pro-manchester activity and opportunities please email

Sam Booth
Chief Executive