Greater Manchester is supporting its businesses with a range of financial, innovative and supportive programmes.
GC Business Growth Hub which works across the 10 combined authorities in Greater Manchester, including Oldham MBC, has introduced its new #Here for Business Programme aimed specifically at supporting businesses who have been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent pan European webinar “Policy Support for Industrial Resilience” – Philip Hargreaves, Head of Access to Finance at GC Business Growth Hub highlighted a few of the key elements of their business resilience programme which is dedicated to supporting local SMEs impacted by COVID-19. For details go to the Growth Hub website:
Project Mercury
As a way of positively reaching out to SMEs the team at GC BGH developed “Project Mercury” – an outbound telephony centre was created from scratch pulling in a team of 40 staff seconded from various parts of the Group.
A process was developed within days and team started to make outbound calls to clients almost immediately utilising a database of 25,000 SME names. The focus was on businesses who had never previously engaged with the Growth Hub.
So far the team has contacted around 11,500 SMEs providing information, guidance and support around finance, Government COVID-19 support schemes, sales and staffing matters to name a few.
Feedback has been extremely positive with many business owners appreciating the support and guidance offered.

Resources needed

At this stage it is difficult to assess but it did become the key focus of the GM business support network

Evidence of success

So far the team has contacted around 11,500 not currently engaged with the business support organisations SMEs providing information, guidance and support around finance,

Over 3,200 businesses have been surveyed with the data being used by both Local and National Governments to help formulate social and economic responses to the pandemic.

Difficulties encountered

Since the survey began:
• 71% of businesses have reported a decrease in sales
• 33% have serious cash issues
• 56% have furloughed staff

Potential for learning or transfer

The principle of this work is an easy transfer. The key is bringing the available support for businesses from a range of providers (local, regional and national government) into one place of contact for businesses. A single point of contact is critical to save the businesses time and and receive support as quickly as possible
Main institution
Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Start Date
March 2020
End Date


Please login to contact the author.