Northern Economic Summit

  • Tuesday, 19 May 2020
  • Central Manchester
  • 09:30 - 16:45
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events' annual Northern Economic Summit will support the public and private sectors in building prosperity in Northern England through a programme of innovative, challenging, practical plenaries and case studies. Delegates will collaborate and network with civic, business and tech leaders; economic/scientific/public policy researchers, industry chiefs, local authorities, central government and international diplomats - those providing the services, contributing the ideas and attracting the capital the region needs to become a self-sustaining economic power.       

The Northern Economic Summit will:    

  • Explore some of the major infrastructure investments in connectivity, construction and technology across the North and review the economic impact on local and regional economies; i.e. Crossrail for the North, Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and Yorkshire mineral mining.
  • Introduce delegates to the fiscal support available through central and local government to start up businesses and existing organisations looking to expand or set-up in the region.
  • Learn about attracting and sustaining inward international investment amid current global political uncertainty. 
  • Inform delegates on how they can take advantage of market opportunities, including exports markets and public sector procurement's £200billion annual expenditure. 
  • Engage with regional businesses offering secondments to the public sector; developing cross-sector business and leadership skills as well as building new relationships between governance and industry.
  • Demonstrate innovative case studies of local authorities contending with diminishing support grants and innovating to diversify their income generation.
  • Support the harnessing of skills in the North.
  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Keynote Address

The pioneering spirit of Greater Manchester's historic economic and socially progressive leadership - from the industrial revolution to the women's suffrage movement - is captured in the region's Local Industrial Strategy. Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham will welcome delegates to the city with a keynote that expands on the economic, technological and sustainability initiatives that the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy will drive, including: 

  • Increased private sector investment in supporting research and development of advanced materials and manufacturing.
  • Establishing a top-5 European city region digital economy with full-fibre broadband and 5G network coverage; with internationally-significant media and cyber-security clusters. 
  • Position the region as a global leader in health and social care; creating new industries and jobs whilst improving population health and extending life expectancy. 
  • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2038 by decarbonising transport, up-scaling renewable energy assets and increasing the energy efficiency of infrastructure; creating green industries/jobs that capitalise on the city region's research assets and low carbon goods and services sector. 

Mr Burnham will put forth the case as to why the new Prime Minister's spending pledges on projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail must be honoured - as vital initiatives for long-term pan-regional growth.

  • Sarah Davies, Northern Powerhouse Strategic Lead, Environment Agency (confirmed)

Sarah Davies, Lead on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Urban Pioneer project will highlight the interaction between the economy, resilience and environmental sustainability - particularly how our approach to the environment influences and determines international investor appetite as well as maximising local economic and health benefits.

  • Rhys Whalley, Executive Director, Manchester - China Forum (confirmed)
"Connecting the Northern Powerhouse"

Subsequent to establishing the Manchester China Forum in 2013, GM's links with China have grown from strength to strength. Greater Manchester and the broader Northern Powerhouse region have seen a surge in inward investment, Chinese tourists, students and an increase in academic collaboration; some of the recent success can be attributed to the Manchester China Forum's strategy of prioritising the development of direct air routes between Manchester Airport and China.


At last year's NES, Minister Ma Hui from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK spoke on how parallels between the Northern Powerhouse and China's Belt and Road initiative have facilitated unprecedented inward investment from China into Northern England, rapid growth of collaboration between Chinese/northern academic researchers and industry in the development of artificial intelligence and graphene; as well as improved economic ties between Chinese and northern commerce. Rhys' keynote will explore opportunities for the region in Phase 2 of the Manchester China Forum investment strategy, including:

  • Further direct connectivity with China.
  • Focus on key sectors to GM's growth; infrastructure and regeneration, advanced manufacturing, visitor economy and football. 

Main Sponsor


Representative from Core Cities UK (confirmed)

"Core Cities UK and OECD Present Findings from the Major Review of UK City Productivity"

Core Cities UK has commissioned the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to undertake a major review of UK city productivity. The review will investigate low productivity in the UK and put forward a series of recommendations developed to support not just the UK's core cities - but also the surrounding towns, through joined-up central and local government strategies that will underpin ambitions to achieve the economic potential of the regions.


Core Cities UK is a grouping of expert researchers and civic leaders cooperating across political parties, with Whitehall and working as partners with the government of the day to ensure the successful delivery of improved outcomes for our cities and the economy through meeting with ministers and civil servants. By working in partnership with Government, Core Cities UK have successfully influenced legislation including the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act as well as working closely with Ministers from DECC/BEIS, DEFRA and the Treasury  on apprenticeships, business rates, Science and Innovation Audits and the strategic role Core Cities can play in the development of future infrastructure projects.          


Panel Discussion

Andy Burnham, Mayor, Greater Manchester (invited)

Sarah Davies, Northern Powerhouse Strategic Lead, Environment Agency (confirmed)

Rhys Whalley, Executive Director, Manchester - China Forum (confirmed)

Representative from Core Cities UK (confirmed)


Coffee in the Networking Area

  • Simon Tse, Chief Executive, Crown Commercial Service (confirmed)
"Using Public Procurement to Invest in the Northern Economy"

The UK public sector spends £200bn a year. Every additional 1% that is spent in the North will represent an economic boost of £6bn due to the knock on the supply chain and local spending. The Crown Commercial Service, which is the leading public sector procurement organisation, will explain how CCS can work more with the wider public sector across the country to help them get value-for-money from their common goods and services procurement.

  • Gavin Brown, Associate Professor in Financial Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed)
  • Dr Richard Whittle, Principal Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed)
"FinTech, Blockchain and Cryptoassets - A Northern Focus"

Beyond the hype of blockchain what are the benefits that decentralised finance can bring to the Northern economy? Professor Gavin Brown and Dr Richard Whittle, co-authors of Algorithms, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency: Implications for the Future of the Workplace will critically explore case studies drawn from global best-practice that will exhibit the potential of this technological disruption and how this may be better leveraged at both the regional and national levels.

"Maximising the Benefits of the North's Knowledge Economy"

The N8 Research Partnership (N8) is the collaborative body for the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. The N8 universities deliver more than £12 billion of revenue for the North, provides assistance to more than 31,000 businesses and generates in excess of £6.6 billion GVA as well as being responsible for 119,000 jobs in the region. N8 research programmes drive growth of the knowledge-based economy through the development of world-class interdisciplinary, translational research that deliver real world impact. 


Case Study

Synopsis coming soon...


Panel Discussion

  • Simon Tse, Chief Executive, Crown Commercial Service (confirmed)
  • Gavin Brown, Associate Professor in Financial Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed)
  • Dr Annette Bramley, Director, N8 Research Partnership (confirmed)
  • Mark Robinson, Chief Executive, Scape Group (confirmed)

Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address

  • Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow, IPPR North (confirmed)
"Power and Prosperity: A Strategy for the North to Take Control of it's Economy"

'The North could thrive in the decades ahead. Its economy is significant on an international scale: it is larger than most EU economies, and those of the UK’s devolved nations combined; and it has vital assets and capabilities which have national importance and global reach.'


Luke's research for IPPR received national coverage for spotlighting the historic and continued disparity between North/South transport infrastructure investment; projecting (based on the government's own National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline) over the next 14 years, London will receive £3,636 per-capita in contrast to £1,247 per-capita in the North. Luke will present findings from his research into driving economic prosperity in the North, including:  

  • Northern assets that can be further cultivated to drive pan-regional growth, such as: economic geography/industrial specialisms, research and development of emerging technologies/materials (particularly in health) and logistics such as the North's eight major ports that are valuable to the energy, automotive and trade sectors.
  • The importance of local industrial strategies for northern sub-regions in strengthening devolved economic policy; drawing from case studies of localised strategies implemented overseas that provide lessons for the development of a Northern Industrial Strategy.
  • IPPR's Commission on Economic Justice - established following the Brexit vote in 2016 to review challenges posed to the UK's economy and making practical recommendations for reform in areas such as industrial strategy, devolved economic policy, corporate governance reform and the financial sector. As a contributor, Luke will present findings from the Commission pertaining to geographically re-balancing economic power in the UK. 

Synopsis coming soon...


Centre for Towns Panel Discussion

Ian Warren, Director, Centre for Towns (confirmed)

Lisa Nandy MP, Member of Parliament for Wigan (confirmed)

David Walsh, Skipton and East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership's 'Northern Link' Project (confirmed)

Luke Raikes, Senior Research Fellow, IPPR North (confirmed)

Speaker TBC


Refreshment Break

  • Phillip Cox, Chief Executive, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (confirmed)
"Local Enterprise Partnerships"

Local Enterprise Partnerships are collaborative projects between local authorities councils and business established to determine the economic priorities in local areas; driving growth, creating jobs and upskilling the work force. In his keynote, Phillip Cox will discuss how he's leading the Cheshire and Warrington LEP towards becoming a £350bn economy by 2030.  


Speaker TBC

"Incentives and Support for Exporters and Those Wishing to Explore International Markets"

This keynote presentation will provide a detailed breakdown from the Department for International Trade of the opportunities, funding and support available to help Northern businesses export.


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

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Jonathan Smith
  • Review and deliberate the economic impact of: reforms to business rates retention/calculation on local authorities capability to support economies, transport-connectivity and infrastructure investment such as Crossrail for the North/HS2, diversifying local economies and further devolution of legislative power.
  • Up-to-date projections for regional growth, commercial trends and performance of emerging industries.
  • Understand how global inward investment and international partners are supporting the development of regional economies in the North. 
  • Learn how to take advantage of grants/opportunities available from local authorities, central government, the European Union, banks and other financial institutions.
  • Hear about opportunities to engage with local government initiatives designed to support business, develop local economies and encourage growth.
  • Learn from procurement chiefs how to secure a share of the public sector's £200billion annual procurement spend.
  • Take advantage of secondment opportunities in business' driving local economic growth; developing cross-sector leadership skills and adding further nuance and insight into local economic policy and initiatives.   
  • Understand the potential impact of proposed business rates retention/calculation and explore methods of reducing local authorities reliance on them as a source of revenue. 
  • Identify diverse sources of growth funding for local businesses and how they can be accessed.
  • Develop your understanding of local business requirements for economic growth and exporting.   
  • Learn about the support available to local businesses who export and how this can be obtained.         
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Contact Details




Central Manchester

Central Manchester


Featured Events

  • The Northern Economic Summit

    • 15 November 2018
    • 09:25 - 17:00
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

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who will attend

  • Assistant Director Business
  • Assistant Director's Regeneration
  • Associate Director's
  • Business Development Directors
  • Business Engagement Managers
  • Business Partnerships Managers
  • Cabinet Members
  • CEO's/Founders
  • Chief Economists
  • Chief Executives
  • Chief Financial Directors
  • Commercial Managers
  • Commercial Services Specialists
  • Deputy Directors of Development and Regeneration
  • Directors
  • Directors - Regeneration & Strategy
  • Directors England and Cities
  • Directors Industrial Strategy
  • Directors of Business and Enterprise
  • Directors of Research, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Directors Of Strategic Transformation
  • Directors Strategic Relationship's
  • Economic Analysts
  • Economic Development Funding Managers
  • Economics Associates
  • Executive Directors
  • General Secretaries
  • Growth Generators
  • Head of Infrastructure
  • Head's of Business Engagement
  • Head's of Communications
  • Head's of External Engagement and Capability
  • Head's of IP & Commercialisation
  • Head's of School: Teacher Development
  • International Trade Advisers
  • Investors
  • Inward Investment Officers
  • Knowledge Exchange Support Officers
  • Lecturers
  • Managing Directors
  • Mayors
  • Members of Parliament
  • Ministers
  • Operations Managers
  • Policy Managers
  • Programme Managers
  • Rail freight logistics experts
  • Regional Directors
  • Regional Press
  • Research Partnership Managers
  • Senior Communications Officers
  • Senior Corporate Engagement Officers
  • Senior Lecturers
  • SMEs
  • Social Inclusion Directors
  • Transport Developers