Why you should get more involved with pro-manchester this year

Thursday, 17th January 2019

I’ve been involved with pro-manchester, first as a member and then more recently in a more official capacity, for about five years. Over that time, I’ve seen first-hand the hard work and dedication that has gone into making it the largest business development organisation in the North West, representing its members and promoting the region as the place to do business, via a packed programme of events, content and networking opportunities.

And if all of that value comes from just being a member, you get even more out of an already sweet deal, if you’re willing to invest some of your own time and effort. The organisation offers many ways through which members can ramp up their involvement, from guest blogs (like the one you’re reading), through to seminars and panel events and even joining one of the 12 committees which make up pro-manchester’s sector group programme.

I first became involved in the creative industries sector group in 2015, when I took the role of co-chair alongside the incumbent Steve Kuncewicz, who had laid the groundwork, with colleagues including Formisimo founder Al Mackin, Studio North’s Michael Di Paola and Jen Smith from JMW, that would see ‘Creative Pro’ become one of the organisation’s most successful committees (not that I’m biased, obvs), with a packed programme of events (hands up if you remember North Bowl, or Conference No. 8) and a unifying purpose to bring together businesses and people from the worlds of creative, digital and professional services for their mutual benefit and enrichment.

The sector groups embody all that is good about pro-manchester, being, as they are, made up of individuals all giving up their time, putting on events, creating content and generally working for the advancement of member businesses and the wider economy locally, whether that’s the creative industries, retail, hospitality or manufacturing.

Of course, this involvement is not without benefit to the people willing to roll their sleeves up and put in some graft. From being involved in the creative sector group I’ve been able to not just help shape pro-manchester’s strategy around creative-professional networking and business development, but also sit on panels, host conferences, get involved in round table events and more. I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, of people through getting stuck into the sector group programme, reaping all the opportunities to collaborate and do business that you would expect to have been thrown up along the way.

Indeed, I met the head of what is now theEword’s biggest client at a social media workshop I’d been hosting for pro-manchester. She’d come along not just for the content but to personally say hello after becoming aware of the agency’s successful track record in leisure and attraction marketing. What has followed is a relationship of strong mutual benefit: while they became our biggest client, we delivered a 55% increase in their digital revenue in the first year of us working together. And while our paths may well have crossed another way without pro-manchester, that workshop undoubtedly helped get things off to a brilliant start, being as it was an opportunity to not just meet potential clients but to share knowledge with them, building trust and chemistry. I’d urge anyone looking to contribute to their individual sector, while raising profile and generating opportunity, to get involved with pro-manchester’s events or sector group programmes.

My involvement with pro-manchester took on another dimension in 2016 when I was asked to join the board as a non-exec. This means I can now help steer and support the organisation on a wider level, beyond the sector group programme. Each board meeting is a demonstration of the tireless commitment the exec team (which is now led by the amazing Sam Booth, who took over as chief exec last September) has to making pro-manchester – and, more importantly to them, all of its members – a success, contributing to the growth of the 300 or so businesses which make up its membership. And, again, the work of the non-execs, giving up their time to help, is an embodiment of the culture of collaboration and mutual benefit that runs though pro-manchester.

I like to think I’ve contributed something to pro-manchester over the years, but I know for a fact I’ve benefitted on both a personal and professional level from my involvement. And while there are loads of off-the-shelf benefits that come with just paying your subs, it’s very much a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.

If you would like to discuss pro-manchester membership or other opportunities, you can get in touch via this page here or call the team on 0161 833 0964.