The Enterprise Zone plays a key role in attracting life sciences, health innovation, med tech, ICT, and advanced materials sectors to Manchester.
In 2021, an independent evaluation was undertaken to assess the impact of the first 5 years of the Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone.
Since Enterprise Zone status was secured, the area has reported strong development levels, driven by high levels of occupier demand that has allowed an impressive portfolio of premises to be delivered.
The Enterprise Zone is now home to a diverse business base, comprising both start-up businesses and established corporates, this includes businesses that have grown within the city and others that have been attracted to locate here due to the growing cluster of activity. Manchester Science Park – through both existing premises and new buildings developed as part of an early phase of the site’s masterplan – is providing workspaces for life science, advanced materials, engineering, energy and digital tech companies.
The focus of Citylabs has been on supporting a growing cluster of integrated diagnostics, medtech and digital health businesses who are driving advances in medicine and healthcare.
Life Sciences, Health Innovation, Med Tech, ICT, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sectors account for 14,750 jobs in best fit Lower Super Output Areas containing the Enterprise Zone, accounting for 23% of the city-wide total employment in these sectors despite this area accounting for 8% of total employment in Manchester. Digital tech and life sciences sectors now account for around 72% of the overall cluster within the zone.
Growth within the Enterprise Zone is playing a role in supporting the growth of the Oxford Road Corridor as a whole. The Corridor is home to 7,100 businesses in best fit Middle Super Output Areas, as of 2020, 31% of Manchester’s total. The number of businesses operating in the Corridor has grown by 38% since 2016, compared to growth of 21% across the city, and 8% nationally.
The Corridor accounts for 21% of Manchester’s employment, with 86,000 jobs as of 2019. Between 2015 and 2019 employment on the Oxford Road Corridor grew by 22%, outpacing the employment growth rate across Manchester (15%) and nationally (5%), with employment growth accounting for 29% of Manchester’s growth between this time. Within the Corridor there is a strong concentration of Life Sciences businesses, accounting for half of Manchester’s total life science business base and almost a quarter (23%) of the Greater Manchester total.
The Oxford Road Corridor contributed an estimated GVA of £4.8bn in 2019, 20% of the Manchester total
- There has been an uplift of approximately 3,000 jobs over five years due to a combination of newly developed floorspace and higher take-up of existing space – an average of over 600 jobs per year, making an important contribution to jobs growth within the city.
- Despite challenging conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the zone has continued to thrive.
- Between 2020 and 2021, 216 jobs were created and 18 new companies took space across the Enterprise Zone, all within specialist science and technology sectors.
- Based on almost 5,000 jobs now accommodated on-site and the nature of business activities, it is estimated that the Enterprise Zone makes a GVA contribution of £320m per annum.
The Enterprise Zone covers two sites: Manchester Science Park’s central campus and the city’s main hospital site, owned by the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
The Enterprise Zone supports a range of benefits for business, its success and achievements will continue to drive advantages in coming years.