Northern Economic Summit

  • Thursday, 28 November 2019
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 09:30 - 16:45
  • Overview

Open Forum Events' annual Northern Economic Summit will support the public and private sectors in building prosperity in Northern England through a programme made-up of innovative, practical ideas and case studies. Delegates will hear from movers-and-shakers, including those providing the services, ideas and finance that the public/private sectors need; including chief economic/scientific/public policy researchers, business leaders, local authorities, central government and international diplomats.       

The Northern Economic Summit will:    

  • Introduce and inform delegates about the many financial support opportunities that are available to start up new businesses or expand existing businesses. 
  • Inform delegates how they can take advantage of market opportunities, including exports markets and the opportunities available through 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 regional governance and industry.
  • Demonstrate innovative case studies of local authorities contending with diminishing support grants and innovating to diversify their income generation.
  • Explore in detail some of the major infrastructure investments in transport, construction, and technology; reviewing how they will impact local economies.
  • Support the harnessing of skills and talents in the North.
  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Keynote Address

Devolution - the process of designing services and policy to support the needs of local people - is central to Andy Burnham's agenda for Greater Manchester; it is already facilitating the region's growth into an independent economic and political powerhouse capable of sustaining itself and reducing reliance on central government.


Welcoming delegates to Manchester city centre, Andy will discuss the impact of devolution on economic policy crafting in GM, his economic priorities and the importance local economies play in the bigger regional picture.    

  • Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (invited)
"The Northern Powerhouse Vision, Priorities and Progress"

Jake Berry MP's remit as Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth includes overseeing Local Enterprise Partnership policy, transitioning European Regional Development Fund projects to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; responsibility for Northern Powerhouse initiatives and prioritising inward/infrastructural investment. The Minister recently launched the £675 million Future High Streets Fund - an initiative to transform British high streets through improved accessibility, re-purposing empty retail space and diversifying the high street experience; attracting 300 local authority bids for a share of the fund.

"Local Enterprise Partnerships"

Local Enterprise Partnerships are collaborations between councils and local businesses established to determine the economic priorities in local areas; driving economic growth, creating jobs and upskilling the work force. This keynote will demonstrate the importance of cross-sector cooperation between business and local authorities in developing local economies that are diverse and equipped to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on high streets, regional industry and skills.  


Main Sponsor


Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader, Oldham Council and Education, Skills and Apprenticeships Lead, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (confirmed)

"Building Prosperous Local Economies"

Oldham became the world's leading economy during the industrial revolution. Since its de-industrialisation in the mid-20th century, Oldham's economy has naturally contracted; becoming reliant on healthcare, food-processing, retail and warehouse employment. With the rapid development of emerging technologies, are these sustainable foundations on which to build a local economy? Cllr Sean Fielding will spotlight initiatives Oldham council are exploring to entice new start-ups, 'in-sourcing' - a procurement strategy developed in Oldham that has gained national recognition in Preston; as well as changes to business rates retention - will it support re-investment in local economies?


Question & Answer Session

Andy Burnham, Mayor, Greater Manchester (invited)

Jake Berry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth (invited)

Christine Gaskell MBE, Vice-Chair, Northern Powerhouse 11 (NP11) (invited)

Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader, Oldham Council and Education, Skills and Apprenticeships Lead, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (confirmed)


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

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

Keynote synopsis coming soon...    

"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. 


Centre for Towns Panel Discussion

Ian Warren, Director, Centre for Towns (confirmed)

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

Speaker TBC

Speaker TBC

Speaker TBC


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


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

"Connecting the Northern Powerhouse"

China and northern England are developing a sophisticated economic partnership built on shared aspirations between the regions for improved international connectivity, collaboration in the development of emerging technologies, environmental sustainability and transformative economies. 

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

The UK public sector spends £200billion a year. Every additional 1% that is spent in the North will represent an economic boost of £6billion 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.


Case Study


Natalie Bain, Deputy Director UK Regions - Northern Powerhouse, Department for International Trade (invited)

"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.


Question & Answer Session

Ben Houchen, Mayor, Tees Valley (invited)

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

Simon Tse, Chief Executive, Crown Commercial Service (invited)

Natalie Bain, Deputy Director UK Regions - Northern Powerhouse, Department for International Trade (invited)


Closing Keynote Address

Ben Houchen, Mayor, Tees Valley (invited)

Ben Houchen is spearheading two initiatives reinvigorating industry in the North East and improve the region's connectivity. Ben has established the South Tees Development Corporation - the first of its kind outside of London - 4,500 acres of land, containing the SSI steelworks site and other industrial assets, earmarked for major economic development to entice investment in the local economy. Additionally, Ben recently agreed a deal to bring the Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership - starting the journey to improving connectivity between the rest of the world and the Tees Valley. 


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

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Alex Jones-Casey

All Delegates

  • Discuss the economic impact of reforms to business rates retention/calculation, transport and infrastructure investment, diversifying local economies and devolution of legislative power.
  • Get new, up-to-date projections for regional growth, commercial trends and emerging industries.
  • Understand how global investment and international partners are supporting the development of local economies in the North.  


Private Sector

  • Learn how to take advantage of the financial 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 and economic growth.
  • Develop your understanding of how to build a growing, sustainable business.
  • Engage with financial support opportunities that are available to small businesses and startups through local and central government.
  • Hear from experts on how to secure a share of the public sector's £200billion annual procurement spend.
  • Understand how to take advantage of reforms to business rates, transport and infrastructure investment and devolution of legislature.


 Public Sector

  • 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.         
  • Contact Details
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads

Contact Details


The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

Featured Events

  • The Northern Economic Summit

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

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