The Enterprise Zone plays a key role in attracting life sciences, health innovation, med tech, ICT, and advanced materials sectors to Manchester.
Enterprise Zone wider benefits for businesses
Beyond the core financial and employment gains, the operation of the Enterprise Zone has been found to have supported a range of wider benefits for business.
New product development: The Enterprise Zone is home to innovative businesses that have developed new product lines here in Manchester. As an example, Apis Assay has developed new biomarkers used in the detection and treatment of diseases and Lucid Ltd has developed new products for use in the NHS. During the pandemic, Lumira DX developed a point of care diagnostic test in conjunction with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Yourgene, broadening its product offer from a focus on pre-natal testing – and expanding its lab space to provide additional testing services.
Attracting investment: Some businesses have recorded high levels of investment from new and existing investors since locating in the Enterprise Zone. A May 2021 Bruntwood SciTech customer survey found that 48% of respondents had secured investment during the previous year, including successes attracting new investors and grants.
“It was also attractive to be near the universities and other tech businesses”– Bright Building business
Building and maintaining partner contacts: The ability to locate alongside leading academics and clinicians makes the Enterprise Zone an attractive base for businesses. This arrangement has allowed new relationships to build while in others it has cemented existing working relationships. As examples, locating within the Enterprise Zone has allowed North West E-Health to maintain strong relationships with its founding partners while QIAGEN has strengthened their relationship with the University of Manchester and Lumira DX worked with MFT during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contacts with the University have also assisted companies with the recruitment of student placements due to the local specialisms offered in biology and chemistry. Some companies within the Enterprise Zone source their student placements from the surrounding universities, several of which had gone on to be recruited permanently upon graduation.
Providing business credibility: Locating in the Enterprise Zone and being able to access high quality accommodation has given some newer businesses the credibility they required in the marketplace. The quality of space and its support for business needs is attractive to businesses of varying development stages. The growing cluster of businesses operating in similar and complementary fields is also considered a benefit.
Access to support: The Bruntwood management model has provided Enterprise Zone customers with regular access to events which have proved invaluable, similarly, organisations enjoy wider forms of business support from a dedicated Enterprise Zone Growth Manager.
Establishing business networks: The clustering of businesses within the Enterprise Zone and within the innovation district is mutually beneficial and has the potential to develop, especially as more businesses return to the workplace
It is really useful having a similar cluster of businesses and research facilities in the area, as it starting to create a critical mass of bio-science industries which is helpful for future collaborations and attracting staff.Citylabs customer
Place benefits: Businesses based within the Enterprise Zone value their location within the Oxford Road Corridor and being so close to the city centre. The area helps attract a young workforce who enjoy the hospitality, social activities and green spaces, especially those that are familiar with the area as a result of their studies. Manchester provides good transport networks and supports more people accessing the Enterprise Zone via public transport for both staff and clients alike.
Business Growth: As result of these benefits, many Enterprise Zone businesses have reported strong growth in jobs and turnover, for example:
- Apis Assay was a new start business when they located in Citylabs 1.0 in 2019 and have grown from two to 85 staff members over that time.
- North West E-Health anticipate a 21% uplift of staff in the coming year.
- During 2020 Wakelet, a content curation platform, doubled its workforce and continues to grow strongly.
- QIAGEN relocated their European centre of excellence into Citylabs 2.0 and plans to expand their team in Manchester by up to 800 jobs.
- Despite the impacts of the pandemic, Manchester Science Park-based respondents to a recent Bruntwood SciTech survey stated that 21% had more employees than 12 months ago and 62% had remained the same.
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.
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.