Major conference PROGRESS21 will look to Greater Manchester’s post-pandemic future

A major in-person conference bringing together thousands of people is set to take place at Manchester Central next month.

Led by the Growth Company, PROGRESS21 is a one-day conference featuring three events: CAREERS, BUSINESS and GLOBAL focusing on; career prospects, business opportunities and global ambition as the city region continues its recovery and looks to generate new growth, create jobs and improve lives.

Taking place on 23 September, PROGRESS21 Business is a chance to join hundreds of other business leaders for a day of network building and specialist insight on the critical issues and opportunities facing companies post-COVID, from finding new markets to capitalising on the digital and net zero carbon transition.

Running alongside, the Global event will see the business community and regional leaders set out how Greater Manchester can promote itself on the world stage, while the Careers event will bring jobseekers and prospective employers together for a Jobs Fair ‘Plus’ and provide guidance on skills, health and wellbeing.

The Growth Company’s latest Greater Manchester Business Survey has shown that 25% of companies in the city region are still reporting financial difficulties, and almost four in ten businesses are still having to deal with decreased sales.

To help those firms, PROGRESS21 Business will have a dedicated Finance theatre, where leaders can learn about the post-pandemic funding landscape, new investment trends and financial tools to future-proof their business.

A Sales theatre will also see experts explore the many opportunities to reach new customers in untapped markets online, overseas and in the public sector.

A third theatre will focus on one of the biggest opportunities facing businesses – digital transformation.

There will also be an interactive session focused on harnessing innovation through intellectual property and R&D.

Along with digitalisation, the other standout issue facing all businesses is the transition to a greener economy.

A Net Zero theatre will feature some of the local companies that are leading the way on sustainability and unpick how they have achieved success with lower impact operations and products.

For the many businesses who have not yet started their own journey to net zero – four separate sessions will cover a range of different topics to get them started.

There will also be a dedicated panel discussion on how businesses can respond to Greater Manchester’s drive to improve air quality by changing the way we travel and transport goods around the city region.

There will also be a theatre focusing on the skills shortage facing many sectors and a dedicated session will also explore mindfulness for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Janine Smith, GC Business Growth Hub Director

Janine Smith, Director, GC Business Growth Hub, said: “Ultimately, PROGRESS21 Business is an exceptional opportunity to find specialist support as we build back better from the pandemic.

“The event is a collaborative effort developed in partnership with the UK’s largest business organisations, including the FSB, CBI, IOD and Chamber of Commerce.

“Panel sessions are packed with subject-matter experts at leading organisations big and small, from NatWest and Siemens to innovative local companies such as Creative Apparel and Crystal Doors.

“Front and centre will be GC Business Growth Hub’s dedicated support services for Greater Manchester SMEs, with advisors on hand to provide tailored guidance on all of the abogmcave topics and more.

“Whether you are an entrepreneur, business founder, leader or manager, all are welcome to join us, learn from the experts, ask questions and establish new connections. I fully expect all attendees to leave with a head full of new ideas and contacts that will take their business to the next level.”

To register for a free place at PROGRESS21 Business, visit PROGRESS21 BUSINESS | Manchester | Sep 23