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Tom Kirk joins Andy Burnham’s Business Advisory Panel

Mayor Andy Burnham today announced the 18 Greater Manchester business figures who will form his new Business Advisory Panel, and Managing Director of Francis Kirk Group, Tom Kirk, has been invited to get involved.

The panel’s members will advise the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Business & Economy, Sir Richard Leese, on actions they feel the city-region should be taking on issues affecting business.

The panel has representation from each of Greater Manchester 10 boroughs and membership is evenly split between women and men.

Members of the new panel include Jennie Johnson MBE, Chief Executive of Kids Allowed Ltd, Ann Steer, Chief Customer Officer at N Brown Group plc and Susanna Lawson, Co-founder/Director, Onefile Ltd.  

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “In November I asked all businesspeople in Greater Manchester, from sole traders to corporation CEOs, to join me as we make Greater Manchester the best place to live, work and invest.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had from the business community.  The quality of those who applied to be on Greater Manchester’s first Business Advisory Panel has been very impressive.

“I’m proud that we now have a group of business leaders who represent full breadth of opinion, from businesses big and small, businesspeople young and old, men and women.  The panel has dynamic and innovative representatives from right across Greater Manchester’s diverse communities and business sectors.

“Together we’ll tackle the issues that businesses face and ensure all our companies can grow and succeed here in Greater Manchester.

Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and lead on economic strategy, added: “The continuing growth of Greater Manchester’s businesses is key to us delivering prosperity for the area and helping ensure that our residents are able to share in that success. It’s also essential that we capture the opportunities in emerging sectors where Greater Manchester has particular strengths. The Business Advisory Panel will provide important insight, and indeed challenge, as we develop strategies to achieve these ambitions.”

The Mayor has asked the panel to not only draw on their own personal experience in the private sector, but also look beyond it to consider what actions and polices can make Greater Manchester as a whole the best place to do business.

Tom Kirk said he was delighted to be involved: “Helping in some small way to shape future policy and have a voice alongside such a well-respected group of individuals is a fantastic opportunity and I am looking forward to getting started.”

Tom is especially passionate about export issues, the importance of giving youth a chance and the vital of innovation in manufacturing.

To support the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the panel will be free to look across all Greater Manchester policy areas, initiate new ideas and provide a challenge function.

One of its first tasks will be to advise on the development of the Greater Manchester Employer Charter and how it can get the widest possible take-up amongst the business community.

The panel is an independent, informal and voluntary body with members joining on a personal basis, rather than as representatives of their own companies or organisations.

Membership will change over time to ensure that as many business voices as possible can be heard.  The founding 18 members have been asked to join for an initial period of 12 months.

Its work will complement Greater Manchester’s well established Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  Both groups will work together help drive Greater Manchester’s ambitions.  Greater Manchester’s LEP is the formal body established by the Government to give businesses, Universities and others a decision-making role in the city region’s economic strategy and investment.  The panel’s advice will also complement the views of Greater Manchester’s business representative organisations, with whom the Mayor also meets regularly.

The full list of Business Advisory Panel members along with the names of their companies are below:

Name Business
Amin Amiri a2e Industries
Andrew Beechener Republic of Things
Ann Rimmer Upp B2B
Ann Steer N Brown Group
Dave Benstead Diodes Zetex
Dorothy Evans African Caribbean Care Group
Elizabeth Shaw Tariff Dale
Jennie Johnson Kids Allowed
John Falder HMG Paints
Jonathan Grant W. Howard Group
Liz Clarke Bike Right!
Maurice Craft Regency Factors
Nicola Hodkinson Seddon Solutions
Oli Randell Ability Tec
Raam Shanker Equitus Engineering
Richard Carter BASF
Susanna Lawson Onefile
Tom Kirk Francis Kirk Group


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