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Manchester, a city of creatives and entrepreneurs

Manchester’s Vibe

With the natural beauty of the Peak District and the Pennines on its doorstep and a thriving city centre, a combination of international attractions and world-class architecture helps to make Manchester one of the UK’s most visited cities.

Rather than feeling large and overwhelming, Manchester has a distinct community feel to it. A diverse population make the northern powerhouse city a multicultural and dynamic metropolis, infused with a sense of the city’s pioneering spirit. Manchester has a sense of independence and was the birthplace of the Suffragettes and every August welcomes hundreds of thousands of people for the UK’s biggest Pride festival.

With a shared cultural identity at the heart of everything, you’ll find that collaboration and a desire for collective success is what makes Manchester an ideal place to live, work and invest.

Manchester’s Cultural Scene

Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK after London and Edinburgh and it’s not hard to see why. Named by the Economist Intelligence Unit as one of the world’s 50 most liveable cities, the city has something to offer every taste, hobby and interest. From world-class sport to history and heritage, a burgeoning culinary scene and an established heritage in the performing arts. Manchester is also home to a variety of regular events and attractions that come together to make the city the cultural melting pot it is.

As well as being the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is perhaps best known for its world-famous musical history and distinct sound, having produced the iconic and era-defining bands like Oasis, the Verve, Joy Division, the Stone Roses and The Smiths (to name just a few). Manchester also plays host to some of the finest classical music in the world and is the home of two symphony orchestras; the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Manchester’s music venues include the twenty thousand capacity Manchester Arena, the Manchester Apollo and Academy, as well as a number of lauded smaller venues like Band on the Wall and the Roadhouse.

The art scene in Manchester is huge as well. The Manchester Museum has displays across 15 galleries and four floors and the Manchester Art Gallery houses some of the world’s finest art collections. The People’s History Museum is also a hugely popular attraction, charting the history of democracy in the city Manchester’s struggle for equality, from Peterloo to the Suffragettes. A more contemporary space is the first British Whitworth Gallery which was reopened after a £15m redevelopment. Home is a new multi-form art centre which will include a 500 seat theatre and studio space.

Unsurprisingly, Manchester also has a rich tradition of theatre and live performance. The city’s oldest theatre is the Theatre Royal which dates back to 1775. Other theatres include the Prince's Theatre and Queen’s, both of which date back to Victorian times. The Gaiety Theatre in Peter Street was opened in 1908, becoming the first British repertory theatre. Smaller more recent venues include the Green Room and the Contact Theatre.

Other highlights on Manchester’s huge cultural scene include Manchester International Festival (described by one US journalist as ‘the most radical and important arts festival today’) and annual city-wide creative celebration Design Manchester. The city also boasts some of the best libraries in the UK, including the Manchester Central Library and Portico Library, which is the biggest public library in the English speaking world.

Why Start a Business in Manchester?

Manchester has been a key contributor to the strength of the UK economy since the industrial revolution and this is still the case today, as it’s home to more than 2.8 million people and has a larger economy than Northern Ireland.

Manchester’s ten metropolitan boroughs are the largest regional economy in the UK outside London, delivering a £62.8bn gross GVA and the city’s international connectivity ensures that businesses have access to opportunities in marketplaces across the world. Manchester’s economy grew by 42% between 2002 and 2012 and the city is a leading city-region for job creation, driving 84% growth between 2002 and 2015. Job creation levels are projected to outperform the likes of Paris, Tokyo and Berlin by 2020, with forecasts indicating that Manchester will achieve economic growth of 2.4% every financial year until 2020.

Almost 100,000 students call the city their home and Manchester’s three universities(the University of Manchester, University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University) all feature strongly in the 2018 QS World University Rankings. With many graduates keen to remain in the city, ambitious startups will have no difficulty attracting emerging talent across a variety of disciplines.

Support for Businesses in Manchester

Businesses choosing to make Manchester their home receive support from inward investment agency, MIDAS. As part of the Manchester Growth Company, MIDAS successfully drives investment in the City Region. Its services include investment support, finance and funding, and dedicated business growth initiatives, with a strong focus on targeting priority international sectors and markets.

Manchester’s Business Growth Hub supports businesses wherever they currently are in their growth journey. To date, the Greater Manchester Investment Fund has invested more than £100m into 90 businesses and created more than 7,000 jobs. Investments have supported the development of commercial space and leveraged £1bn of private sector funds.

The North West Fund also provides a wide range of support services including access to Local Economic Partnerships, economic development teams and growth hubs. This £155m evergreen fund can also facilitate communications with economic chambers and funders providing alternative finance opportunities. Finally, with 4,500 members, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest chamber of commerce in the UK and supports companies of all sizes across a huge number of industry sectors.

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Manchester Food and Drink

Manchester is one of the UK’s culinary hotspots and home to a wealth of restaurants and eateries of every type and tastes. Top dining experiences include award-winning The French, run by head chef Adam Reid (who won the BBC’s Great British Menu in 2016), Masons and Grafene offering fine European dining. Other must visit restaurants include Tattu and Ocean Treasure (oriental) and the fabulous Australasia.

Independent Shopping

Independence and creativity are Manchester’s driving force, so it’s no surprise that the independent shopping scene is thriving. The Northern Quarter exudes charm and character and is home to a variety of independent boutiques, bars and shops. The Manchester Craft and Design Centre is the beating heart of the city’s craft community, housing 16 retail spaces for creatives specialising in everything from jewellery to textiles, ceramics and fashion.

Greater Manchester’s farmers and produce markets have a selection of the best locally produced food, including specialist breads and pastries, homemade preserves, and artisanal coffee. These include the huge Bury Meat and Fish Market, Castlefield Market (well known for its artisan crafts) and Manchester Piccadilly Street Food Market.

Manchester’s Future

The infrastructure in and around the Manchester City Region is world-class, with an integrated system that provides excellent connectivity within the UK and easy access to the rest of the world.

In 2016, Manchester Airport was named as the best in the UK at the Globe Travel Awards, not least because of the direct train links to the city and a comprehensive road network ensure that commuters and travellers have easy access to the largest regional airport in the UK outside London.

MediaCityUK is a base for a variety of internationally acclaimed creative outlets, notably including the BBC and ITV. Its range of innovative digital and technology start-ups has secured the development’s reputation as a hub for creativity and the relocation of key broadcasting talent and investment outside of London.

Airport City sits at the centre of a Government Enterprise Zone. On top of that, the Carrington development is now an established commercial location, along with The Sharp Project, which houses more than 60 creative digital entrepreneurs. A variety of other key developments in the Greater Manchester region, collectively ensure that companies across a range of sectors have the facilities and the infrastructure they need to ensure secure growth and success on a global scale.