Manchester business figures behind launch of national support scheme

Richard Jeffery

The expertise of two established Manchester business figures is helping the launch of a national support programme for UK firms

Social enterprise, the Growth Company, is behind GC Business which has been set up to improve productivity and prosperity by supporting local authorities and the Government to reshape national economic redistribution policies.

It will support regional efforts to scale-up businesses and industry sectors that are seen as offering the greatest potential for the country to compete on an international stage.

Drawing on the Growth Company’s 30-plus years of expertise, insights and data, GC Business will partner with business and economic development leaders across the country to create and grow thriving companies.

The initiative is led by Richard Jeffery, who was at the helm of GC Business Growth Hub for 10 years. As national director, he will lead GC Business’s full range of integrated support services for public, private and third sector commissioners.

He said: “GC Business will transform the prospects thousands of businesses in the UK each year by delivering publicly- and privately-backed growth and productivity improvements.

“Our vision is for a society where economic growth and prosperity is inclusive, sustainable and leaves no person or community behind. I’m excited that we’ll be helping to create a future founded on thriving businesses that create well paid jobs for talented and empowered individuals across our diverse communities.​”

He is joined by Andrew Toolan who has been appointed senior consultant for GC Business. Toolan was previously head of business development and strategic partnerships at MIDAS, Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency.

Having recently developed a net zero strategy and a USA market strategy for MIDAS, he will support the overall management and development of the Growth Company’s new national business support offer with a focus on delivering consultancy projects across the country.

GC Business will build on the Growth Company’s experience of delivering multimillion-pound contracts in areas including:

  • Business growth: GC founded the country’s first Business Growth Hub almost 10 years ago in Greater Manchester – a model now replicated in 38 areas across England. GC working with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy now also helps to co-ordinate and develop the Growth Hub networks activities
  • Internationalisation: GC has delivered the Department of International Trade’s export contract in the North West of England since 2007 and continues to innovate through new programmes including the Global Scale Up programme, which has provided support for businesses across England
  • Digital transformation: GC delivers the Made Smarter programme in the North West, which, following a successful pilot, has launched in three additional regions in England
  • Net zero: GC delivers an award winning resource efficiency programme, helping businesses to transition to a low carbon economy, which has helped SMEs to save more than two million tonnes of carbon – and £500m in energy, material and waste costs – since 2012
  • Peer Networks: In 2020, GC worked with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to develop the Peer Network programmes from policy concept through to on the ground delivery across every LEP area.

Mark Hughes, Growth Company chief executive, said: “This expansion cements our aim to be the national provider of business support services, driving sustainable economic growth as part of the levelling up agenda, and playing a key role in the UK’s post-EU transition and COVID-19 recovery.

“We have honed our expertise over 30 years, helping local and national economic development leaders create and grow thriving businesses.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...