A big part of our regeneration agenda in Oldham is supporting the local business community.
We regularly review our business and investment strategy, looking at how we support business growth and investment, and keeping the council and the borough business- and investment-friendly.
This is backed by positive relationship with the local chamber and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. There is a good local infrastructure representing businesses voices, which is central to getting our investment strategy right.
We have approximately 5,500 businesses in the borough, employing close to 80,000 people. The majority are small to medium sized and there is good sector diversity; our priorities for the next five to ten years are businesses in health and social care, engineering and manufacturing, construction and logistics. Supporting these sectors to prosper and grow is central to our future economic success.
Supporting business growth in Oldham is part of the council’s co-operative agenda. This is a strategic and pragmatic approach to nurturing business growth, which supports businesses in the sectors we want and need to grow. With a predominantly SME business base, the co-operative approach means having a close and at times intense relationship with businesses.
A good example is the success the council has had in Oldham’s town centre independent quarter over the last few years, where we have combined acquisitions and capital grants with high-intensity engagement to deliver a vibrant, unique area of retail, leisure and hospitality in close collaboration with the business community.
I recently had the pleasure of attending our annual business awards. This is a major gala charity dinner, exceptionally well attended by a highly engaged local and Greater Manchester business community. The variety of winners - from bakeries to TV set designers to tunnelling engineers - give a flavour of some of the great things happening right now in the business community of Oldham.
We had a great representation of some of our key growth sectors as well as a positive array of talent providing entrepreneurship role models for the business people of the future. It was also a good reflection of the diversity of our business base in sectors and in scale.
What better way to show how local government is getting down to business in key areas across the country?
Tom Stannard, director of enterprise and skills, Oldham MBC