City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Manchester

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Manchester city centre

Considering Manchester for your next business venture? We’ve compiled a quick guide to the city, so you can find out about everything it can offer prospective entrepreneurs. Keep reading to find out more about business ownership and franchising in Manchester.


If you’re looking for a region with impressive infrastructure and a huge pool of skilled workers but lower prices than London, Manchester could be the place for you. It’s the UK’s biggest city after the capital, with a £62.8 billion economy. 

It also provides jobs for more than 1.3 million people and has the highest number of foreign students in the UK. Manchester is a multicultural city, with residents speaking over 200 different languages across the region.



An overview of Manchester

More than seven million people live within a one-hour drive of Manchester, giving the city’s businesses easy access to a huge pool of potential employees. They also benefit from the area’s five universities, hosting more than 100,000 students, 14,000 of which study STEM subjects. Every year, over 36,000 graduates leave educational institutions across Greater Manchester, but over 60 percent of them remain in the North West for work. And 46 percent stay in the city itself. 

Manchester residents have an average age of 36.4, almost four years lower than across England & Wales. And 66.5 percent of people are of working age, compared to 62.3 across the rest of the country. Salary figures are just £100 per year lower than the national average, at £38,500, but wages differ from region to region. Bury’s population sees an average income of £31,200, while Salford residents enjoy £40,700 per year. 

Property prices, in comparison, are much lower than the £300,000 average in England & Wales. Homeowners spend around £204,000 and live in households of 2.37 people on average. 

Manchester also has one of the UK’s biggest airports, used by over 27 million people annually, offering flights to more than 210 cities worldwide, including Dubai, Hong Kong and San Francisco. And if you need to get to London, you can get there in around two hours by train. Departures are scheduled for 20-minute intervals. 

The city has proven to be a huge draw for some of the world’s biggest companies. Across Manchester, you’ll find more than 2,000 foreign businesses, including Google, Amazon and Kellogg’s. Of course, it’s also home to many notable British brands, such as Jaguar Land Rover. 

Running your own business in Manchester

If you’re interested in franchising in Manchester, it’s worth finding out about the region’s most profitable industries. Here are some of the city’s biggest sectors: 

  • Manufacturing - Manchester led the global industrial revolution and is famous for its factories and historical ties to manufacturing. Did you know Ford chose the city as its first production site in Europe? To this day, Manchester has a workforce of almost 115,000 highly skilled labourers, and they cover everything from transport to electronics and aerospace. 

  • Technology - According to a report by The Data City, Manchester outperforms every other UK city when it comes to AI, e-commerce, IoT and a number of other tech-based sectors. It’s also been named the UK’s top city for digital technology, which is hardly surprising, given it has attracted the teams of more than 10,000 businesses in the industry. Google, Microsoft and IBM are just three of the biggest tech companies operating in the area. 

  • Creative media - ‘Innovation foundation’ Nesta has discovered Manchester has the second fastest-growing creative sector in the UK, after London. It contributes £1.46 billion to the local economy across areas including publishing and architecture. In 2011 and 2012, the BBC famously moved much of its workforce to the city from London. 

  • Financial, professional and business services - Another large sector for Manchester, this industry is second only to London in size. Over 280,000 people have jobs in this business area, which makes up 20 percent of the local economy. Barclays and Deloitte are just two of the companies leading the way. 

  • Healthcare - Manchester was the first city in the UK to gain devolved control of its health and social care budget, worth £6 billion. Thanks to its focus on science, it has celebrated a number of achievements. Healthcare workers in Manchester invented IVF and carried out the first total hip replacement and bionic eye surgeries. 

  • Sustainable solutions - Like most major cities, Manchester is undertaking various initiatives to become carbon neutral. It aims to reach the target by 2038 and will spend £8-£10 billion along the way. So far, the city has already been able to develop the biggest low-carbon sector in the UK after London and the South East. 

Did you know? Manchester welcomed Ford’s first European manufacturing site. 

Franchising in Manchester

Widely regarded as one of the best cities in the UK for business, Manchester is a fantastic place to launch a franchise unit. There’s a huge range of options across some of the region’s biggest industries, particularly in technology, business services and healthcare. 

What’s more, there are plenty of business resources based in Manchester to support entrepreneurs to reach their targets. For instance, the Northern Franchise Exhibition is often held in the city, giving franchisees the chance to gain insight from other thriving business owners and network with like-minded people.



If you think Manchester could be your ideal location for running a franchise unit, you can start taking the path to entrepreneurship today by browsing the available partnership options. See our full list of opportunities for franchising in Manchester to get going. 

Alternatively, you can find out more about the role of a franchise investor by reading our other become a franchisee articles. We have a range of franchise guides and resources to help you build your dream business. 

*Statistics taken from Plumplot.co.uk and InvestInManchester.com 

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