Greater Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse places in the UK. The city-region recognises this diversity as its greatest asset and has always acknowledged the importance of global connectivity and the benefits of internationalisation.

At the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Greater Manchester is the Global Gateway to the north of England; the city-region’s desire to connect, trade and collaborate with international markets has driven the transformation of its economy over the last 200 years, and remains a key priority today.

In 2017, Greater Manchester published a three-year internationalisation strategy outlining its long-term ambition to become a top global city-region. Over the last three years, Greater Manchester’s bold ambitions, strong asset base, and coordinated approach to delivering international activity have led to improved performance across all of its international priority areas.

The city-region has continued to attract more international investors, visitors and students to live, visit, study and invest here, and its businesses have continued to export all over the world, making a positive contribution to the prosperity and diversity of Greater Manchester. The city-region continues to pride itself as an inclusive, welcoming, liveable and socially responsible place that supports its residents, communities and businesses to thrive locally, nationally and internationally.

Over the last six months, COVID-19 has drastically changed people’s lives, exposing many economic and societal challenges and causing huge disruption to Greater Manchester’s international ambitions and the key partners that drive them. The global landscape today is very different to 2017, with the challenges in recent months only reinforcing our interconnectedness and highlighting the importance of working across borders.

It was under this new context that Greater Manchester refreshed its International Strategy, in line with its Living with COVID resilience plan, recognising the benefits of internationalisation in not only supporting economic recovery, but also helping the city-region to build back better. The refreshed strategy, developed in consultation with the 10 local authorities and partners across the city-region, looks to address the immediate challenges facing Greater Manchester’s international ambitions as well as reposition the city-region’s international vision in light of the new challenges it faces.

Greater Manchester’s long-term term international ambitions are to:

• Raise the profile of Greater Manchester as a safe, welcoming and diverse city-region with a strong cultural, sport and place offer, making the city-region one of the best places in the world to live, visit, study and invest;

• Build a globally competitive city-region by increasing trade and foreign investment, and by fostering business development and cross-border partnerships that support local growth ambitions and bring benefits to local businesses and residents;

• Position Greater Manchester at the forefront of innovation, with cutting-edge and progressive research: a region of visionary thinkers, and a place where ideas turn into solutions that are shared with the world;

• Establish Greater Manchester on the global stage and raise its reputation as an international, responsible city-region that places people and our natural environment at its centre, and that recognises the value of working towards shared global goals.

Greater Manchester’s unique spirit, shaped by generations of residents from all parts of the globe, built on a fusion of cultures, talent and creativity, and supported by an internationally competitive economy, make it the global city-region it is today. By bringing together these strengths, assets and ambitions under the framework of the refreshed International Strategy, Greater Manchester positions itself in the best possible way to achieve its global ambitions and support its recovery from COVID-19.

To read the full Greater Manchester International Strategy, click here.