Funding awarded for new ideas to improve Greater Manchester’s foundational economy

  • Total of 40 innovative projects awarded grants of £10,000 each
  • Projects to support Greater Manchester’s Foundational Economy – parts of the economy people depend on for their daily needs, including adult social care, early education, childcare, retail, and hospitality and leisure sectors
  • First phase of funding will help projects develop their ideas; second phase of funding to follow in 2024

Forty innovative projects which aim to improve ways of working in Greater Manchester’s “foundational economy” have been awarded a share of £400,000.

The projects chosen will receive £10,000 from Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Foundational Economy Innovation Fund. The first phase of funding will help projects develop their ideas for innovations in their sector or business, with recipients also receiving tailored support and advice to give them the best chance to succeed.

A second phase of funding – to be awarded in early 2024 – will provide 10 of the projects with £60,000 to progress their ideas further. 

The “foundational economy” or “everyday economy” refers to the parts of the economy people depend on for their daily needs, including adult social care, early education, childcare, retail, and leisure and hospitality.

The fund aims to support a more prosperous Greater Manchester by helping these sectors become more resilient and profitable while improving the quality of jobs.

Successful applicants include a range of small- and medium-sized businesses and organisations from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

Projects being funded include Care and Repair Manchester, which helps older, disabled and vulnerable people across Greater Manchester to stay safe, warm and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. The charity will use its funding to help develop a digital portal to help hospital discharge staff connect people leaving hospital with quality local services that can support them when they get home.

Alice Mason, CEO of Manchester Care and Repair, said: “We are really looking forward to working with the Foundational Economy Innovation Fund and our friends at the Wai Yin, Caribbean African Health Network and Rochdale Circle to help us crack a problem that has been bothering us all for a long time.

“With 13 different hospitals in Greater Manchester and more than a dozen voluntary sector home from hospital services, we are looking to build a tech solution that will make it easier to get the right people the right support as quickly and painlessly as possible.”

Recruitment technology start-up The ParTimer, which is developing an app to connect part-time workers to employers with stable job opportunities in retail and hospitality, as well as other sectors, has also received funding.

Usman Aziz, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at The ParTimer, said: “The ParTimer is a HR-tech startup introducing a digital, end-to-end platform for part-time recruitment. We are delighted to receive support from the GMCA's Foundational Economy Innovation Fund, which will be used to develop an advanced prototype app for pilot testing in Greater Manchester.”

Funding has also been awarded to The Curiosity Shop, a pilot scheme by Age UK Manchester. The team at Age UK’s pop-up shop at Hatch in Manchester will use the funding and support to upcycle and repurpose fashion and homeware items donated through its charity shops.

Rick Hartley, Retail and Income Generation Manager at Age UK Manchester, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to receive this support from the Foundational Economy Innovation Fund to develop our new concept through our charity retail team. We hope to encourage and promote sustainable shopping and ethical living through this creative endeavour.”

A full list of the successful applicants and more information about their projects is available here.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy and Business, said: “These projects have been selected because of their outstanding potential as we look for creative ways to improve Greater Manchester’s foundational economy. After launching the fund last year we received a fantastic response, with more than 300 expressions of interest.

“The Foundational Economy Innovation Fund is here to support sectors which are too often overlooked, and ensure innovation is harnessed to help them work better. In Greater Manchester a high proportion of our people are employed in these sectors, so any improvements could boost prosperity for many thousands of people.”

Lou Cordwell OBE, Chair of Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), said: “By supporting innovation across Greater Manchester’s foundational economy we can deliver increased productivity in the sectors we rely on for our daily needs.

“These businesses were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and now face further challenges from energy costs and inflation. This fund complements the wide range of business support already in place while backing ideas that could increase the resilience of these sectors in the future.”  

Article Published: 21/06/2023 10:48 AM