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Events like MIPIM are vital to the growth of our city-regions

Written by Eamonn Boylan

UK regions need to stand up and be heard if they’re to become internationally competitive.

Greater Manchester is a region that’s long recognised the importance of attracting international investment. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen an astounding level of transformation in terms of our residential population, transport infrastructure and cultural offer, much of which could not have been achieved without international backing.

Indeed, city-regions across the country are increasingly recognising that we’re not competing with each other for investment and development; we’re competing internationally with destinations across the globe. That’s where events like MIPIM, the world’s biggest property exhibition, play a critical role.

The Greater Manchester Internationalisation Strategy, launched in June last year, is clear about the importance of engaging international markets in order to win the necessary levels of investment to achieve our growth objectives.

Greater Manchester has very significant infrastructure needs which require substantial levels of investment. We are planning for enormous growth over the next 20 years: 227,000 new homes, and millions of sq ft of new employment space. We need to enhance our infrastructure to support that growth.

To achieve this we believe we need around £15bn in total, which is a huge ask, and one that will require the support of investment partners to meet that infrastructure challenge. We need to work with developers to ensure we can generate the capacity to deliver this.

On top of this, we have set ourselves a very clear target for Greater Manchester to become a net exporter of wealth into the UK economy. At the moment we import more public spending than we generate in tax, and we can’t afford to remain there - we need to become self-sustaining.

We therefore need to work with the private sector to increase our productivity, and MIPIM is crucial in this respect.  The event provides an unrivalled opportunity to talk directly to a number of important marketplaces over the space of a week.

Through a long-established public-private sector approach, the Manchester at MIPIM Partnership is able create a unique platform from which our property sector can effectively compete with these leading global destinations.

This March, the Partnership will be returning to the Manchester Pavilion for a week of networking, thought-leadership and discussions with leading players in global development. We’ve got our work cut out for us - making sure that we’re having the right conversations with the right people to ensure that we are drawing in the investment that we need to continue to grow. If past years are anything to go by, we’re in for a busy week.