Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has cast the net wide in selecting his first Business Advisory Panel, with just one representative of the property sector being named, in Nicola Hodkinson, director of business services at Seddon Construction.
The panel’s members will advise the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Business & Economy, Sir Richard Leese, on actions they feel the city region should be taking on issues affecting business.
There is representation from each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs, with membership evenly split between women and men. Members of the panel include Kids Allowed chief executive Jennie Johnson, N Brown’s chief customer officer Ann Steer and Francis Kirk Group managing director Tom Kirk.
Burnham said: “In November I asked all businesspeople in Greater Manchester, from sole traders to corporation CEOs, to join me as we make Greater Manchester the best place to live, work and invest.
“I’m 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.”
With an unashamedly pro-development Town Hall, Manchester has at times stood accused by some of being somewhat in thrall to property, and there is a different feel to the panel compared to other public-private forums in Manchester and the wider region, in the lack of representation from the regeneration and consultancy worlds.
Leese said: “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’s 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 founding members have been asked to join for an initial period of 12 months. One of the panel’s first tasks will be to advise on the development of the Greater Manchester Employer Charter and how it can get the widest possible take-up amongst the business community.
The panel’s work is intended to complement Greater Manchester’s well established Local Enterprise Partnership.