SMEs in Greater Manchester have been recognised for their entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in a report published by the GC Business Growth Hub.
Figures quoted in the report indicate that the small business community across the city-region was innovating at twice the rate of the national average. 76% of the 406 respondents to the Growth Hub’s first annual review reported they had conducted innovation projects during 2020: double the 38% national average that was recorded in the government’s UK Innovation Survey 2019.
The Business Growth Hub’s 53-page report sets out the results of its Greater Manchester Business Survey 2020, which sought to understand how Covid-19 had affected SMEs in the city-region, and what challenges and opportunities lay ahead for the local economy.
In addition to the digital innovation that has been accelerated by the pandemic in 2020, the report also welcomed the £6.8 billion that new green technologies brought to the Greater Manchester economy, as well as the SMEs adopting new eco-friendly and sustainability practices. Mental health and wellbeing initiatives were also picked out as a key trend for businesses in 2021.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Head of Specialist Services at GC Business Growth Hub, Janine Smith, said that the entrepreneurial outlook of businesses would help the region’s economy to build back better in the wake of the pandemic. She said:
Crises drive innovation and COVID-19 has been a crisis unlike any other.
“Our entrepreneurs have identified opportunities, shown great spirit and adapted. This is a positive sign for our region and it shows what we all know – in these challenging times our city-region is still looking for ways to break new ground. Creativity, resilience and the spirit of innovation is in Greater Manchester’s DNA.
“The business community has shown an unwavering ability to build back better, seek opportunities and innovate in the hardest of times. Our region has shown resilience, but companies need help to make changes and grow.”
Lou Cordwell, Chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), added:
The past year has been an incredibly challenging one for Greater Manchester’s businesses – particularly our SMEs – but this report offers reason for hope.
“It has been inspiring to see businesses adapt and innovate in all sorts of ways across our city-region. Greater Manchester is known for its resilience and creativity, and those traits will have been evident this difficult period and will be the basis of our recovery.
“Creating a culture of business innovation, across all sectors and in all parts of Greater Manchester, is a central part of our Economic Vision. In particular, businesses that have embraced digital and low-carbon innovation will help drive our national economic recovery and efforts to build back better.”