Panel gets down to business in first meeting

Date published: 26 February 2018

Issues affecting the businesses of Greater Manchester were discussed as the brand-new Business Advisory Panel met for the first time in Manchester.

Business leaders from a wide range of sectors came together with Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor for Business & Economy, on Friday.

The new panel was brought together to advise Andy and Sir Richard on actions they feel the city-region should be taking on issues affecting business.

A range of topics was discussed at the first meeting, including transport, skills, climate change, town centres and Brexit.

Nicola Hodkinson, Director of Business Services at the Seddon Group, said: “I am delighted with how the first meeting went. Everyone had positive things to say about how we move forward in Greater Manchester.

“A lot of what we spoke about was how we help people get the skills they need for not only jobs today, but how we make sure our young people have the right skills for the jobs of the future.

“This panel has the freedom to come up with ideas that will help people across our city-region, which is both authentic and refreshing. There is a genuine appetite to make our city-region, with its people and its businesses, the best place to get on.”

Mayor Burnham said: “In November I asked all businesspeople in Greater Manchester, from sole traders to Corporation CEO’s, to join me as we make Greater Manchester the best place to live, work and invest.

“I was overwhelmed by the response we had from the business community. The quality of those who applied to be on Greater Manchester’s first Business Advisory Panel was very impressive.

“I am proud that we now have a group of business leaders who represent full breadth of opinion, from businesses big and small, businesspeople young and old, men and women.

"The panel has dynamic and innovative representatives from right across Greater Manchester’s diverse communities and business sectors.

“Together we’ll tackle the issues that businesses face and ensure all our companies can grow and succeed here in Greater Manchester.

Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and lead on economic strategy, added: "The continuing growth of Greater Manchester's businesses is key to us delivering prosperity for the area and helping ensure that our residents are able to share in that success.

"It is also essential that we capture the opportunities in emerging sectors where Greater Manchester has particular strengths.

"The Business Advisory Panel will provide important insight, and indeed challenge, as we develop strategies to achieve these ambitions."

The panel is an independent, informal and voluntary body with members joining on a personal basis, rather than as representatives of their own companies or organisations. Membership will change over time to ensure that as many business voices as possible can be heard.  The founding 18 members have been asked to join for an initial period of 12 months.

The panel has representation from each of Greater Manchester 10 boroughs and membership is evenly split between women and men.

Panel members

  • Amin Amiri, a2e Industries
  • Andrew Beechener, Republic of Things
  • Ann Rimmer, Upp B2B
  • Ann Steer, N Brown Group
  • Dave Benstead, Diodes Zetex
  • Dorothy Evans, African Caribbean Care Group
  • Elizabeth Shaw, Tariff Dale
  • Jennie Johnson, Kids Allowed
  • John Falder, HMG Paints
  • Jonathan Grant, W Howard Group
  • Liz Clarke, Bike Right!
  • Maurice Craft, Regency Factors
  • Nicola Hodkinson, Seddon Group
  • Oli Randell, Ability Tec
  • Raam Shanker, Equitus Engineering
  • Richard Carter, BASF
  • Susanna Lawson, Onefile
  • Tom Kirk, Francis Kirk Group

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