Ekosgen report details jobs created at The Sharp Project
Findings of an independent report commissioned by Manchester City Council to examine the economic impact of The Sharp Project have been released. Researched and written by Manchester based specialist economic development and regeneration consultancy ekosgen, the report found that since opening in 2011 The Sharp Project has exceeded its target by creating 375 (full time equivalent) jobs. It is now home to more than 50 businesses, generating an annual GVA impact of £21.4 million.
In 2011, when The Sharp Project was completed, digital industries accounted for 45,776 jobs in Greater Manchester and generated £2bn of economic output per year. The sector has now around 15,000 employees in the city alone and Manchester is recognised as the UK’s second city for the digital sector after London. The opening of The Sharp Project, the relocation of the BBC and the associated development are each highlighted as drivers.
The report states that the well-defined proposition, informed by extensive specialist knowledge of the businesses’ requirements in this diverse sector, is a key factor in The Sharp Project’s success. Despite being in a period of recession, tenants surveyed as part of the research showed encouraging growth with 92% experiencing increased turnover, 89% increased productivity and 85% developing new products and services since arriving at The Sharp Project. Also 75% of tenants surveyed had created new jobs. Over the next 12 months 100% of tenants expected turnover to increase and 61% expected to take on more staff.
Through SharpFutures, set up in 2012 to nurture and grow talent, links have been made with a number of local partners including high schools and colleges. The social enterprise currently employs five apprentices, all from Manchester.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “The results of this report are very encouraging. In addition to the economic, social and regeneration benefits already realised, the evidence suggests the impact of The Sharp Project will continue to increase in future years. It has created a strong platform for future developments in Manchester, further strengthening the digital sector and contributing to the City’s ambition to be one of the world’s leading digital city by 2020.”
John McCreadie, Director of Ekosgen said: “The Sharp Project is a remarkable phenomenon combining considerable economic impact with a powerful brand that has the potential to secure further investment and employment in the city. The Sharp Project also now provides a tried and tested model for digital media production hubs.”
Sue Woodward OBE, Director of The Sharp Project and Manchester’s Creative Media Champion said: “The strategy behind The Sharp Project is working and making a real difference to the sector and the local economy. We’ve achieved a critical mass of companies which has enabled us to prototype a new way of supporting and encouraging digital companies to collaborate as well as compete for business. This unique and defining feature has allowed us to create a digital community within a business environment that stimulates growth.”