Why Rochdale is the place for business
Rochdale has set out its vision to make business a key platform of its placemaking agenda. Rochdale Development Agency hosted a roundtable of local businesses and asked them why they felt Rochdale was a destination for business.
Matthew Donnelly is the managing director of 1860 GEL Precision Engineering. He said: “We chose to base our engineering and manufacturing business in Rochdale in 2016 because of the engineering network and the skills available. We employ 16 people and Rochdale is a great place for business.”
Serial entrepreneur Darren Clancy has a number of business interests, including SPC Sheet Metal in Littleborough, where he is the finance director. He said: “I’m from Rochdale and never wanted to leave. In the last few years Rochdale has really pushed manufacturing to make it a hub for the North West and I need to be in Rochdale.”
James Hall is the business development manager at Rochdale-headquartered MID Communications, which is an independent franchise of 02. He said: “I’m from Rochdale, as is our CEO Danny Simpson, and Rochdale is great for us. We have a diverse community, great transport links and a proud heritage. They all go hand-in-hand. The regeneration of the town centre and the links to and from Manchester mean there’s an opportunity to bring people in rather than talking about sending them out.”
Louise Scott is the account manager and fourth generation of her family-run building contractor H Bell & Son. The company’s 30-strong staff and subcontractors are all from Rochdale. “We’re proud to be from Rochdale,” she said. “We’ve got good people and tend to find people who join the business stay for a long time. The challenge is encouraging young people to join businesses like ourselves. It needs to be promoted within schools.”
Arsalan Hussain is a property lawyer at Molesworths Bright Clegg. He said: “Before I came to Rochdale my impression was it was a bit closed in. However, having worked here since May, I feel it’s open for business. I originally came for an initial three months but I’ve decided to stay.”
Bev Place is a business development manager at charity Rochdale Connections Trust and a former Mayoress of Rochdale. She said: “Rochdale Connections Trust was founded by a group of youth magistrates over 20 years ago who were concerned about young people before the courts and show them there was a different path available to them. Over the years the remit has grown and we’re now the leading independent provider of domestic abuse services. I’m passionate about making a difference. We’re working with people in society and making life better for them so ultimately they can contribute to the local economy.”
Tony Nugent is the managing director of Anthony K Vehicle Leasing and said: “I’ve been leasing vehicles for 37 years and I’ve had my own business for 24 years. I could have based it anywhere but I chose Rochdale because my roots are here. Physically you can see things being built in Rochdale. The people are too modest. We don’t shout about it enough.”
The Natural History Museum's famous dinosaur, Dippy the Diplodocus, has been enthralling and exciting thousands of visitors at Number One Riverside, in Rochdale since February.
The borough is blessed with major employers like JD Sports but there’s also a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups and SMEs that contribute hugely to the placemaking agenda.
In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people.