The £100m investment fund established by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership has started accepting bids from companies with ready projects that will deliver economic growth.
The ten local authorities of Greater Manchester have agreed a single investment strategy, underpinned by a new Greater Manchester Investment Team. The team will work to support projects and enable them to access the most appropriate sources of funding.
Money has been sourced from the Regional Growth Fund, Growing Places Fund, Evergreen Fund, European Regional Development Fund and the Homes & Communities Agency. Each of the funds has different eligibility criteria, which means that a broad spectrum of development propositions can be considered.
The GM Combined Authority said: "The idea is to create an investment cycle, enabling businesses to invest in projects that will drive economic growth and generate commercial returns. The investment will then be repaid to create a fund for further development. This will move away from dependency on grants and create a mature economy that re-invests in itself to create sustainable and strong growth in output and employment."
Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said: "This event gives us an opportunity to find the best possible projects to help boost the Greater Manchester economy and will create tens of thousands of jobs for the region.
"The projects involved will get specialist support from the investment team, but, let me be very clear, this is not about getting free money. In order to be successful, these projects have to deliver real benefits for the region's economy and be able to re-invest in the fund.
"This is a revolutionary way of working for local government, with all ten AGMA authorities working as a single team to drive regional investment. We recognise that each area has its own unique offer and by channeling opportunities through a single investment team, we can make the most of all of our strategic sites and opportunities.
"For businesses with strong projects planned, this will give them a real boost to help them get the projects off the ground and make the most of funding opportunities. Businesses really have nothing to lose by sending in their proposals.
"For us, this process helps us to identify the absolute best projects for Greater Manchester and make sure those we take forward will stimulate and drive our regional economy."
The combined authority said examples of the sorts of projects that qualify include the conversion of the former Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester into a biomedical facility by developer Bruntwood; Peel Group's Port Salford; Airport City; and the SME Loan Fund run by Access to Finance.