Greater Manchester in Fujitsu deal for Investment Zone

Cllr Bev Craig, Vivek Mahajan and Mayor Andy Burnham

Leaders from Greater Manchester have signed a new exploratory partnership agreement in Tokyo with Fujitsu which is linked to the Japanese technology giant supporting the development of Greater Manchester’s Investment Zone.

Greater Manchester’s leaders also agreed to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SSE Energy Solutions during a visit to the Scottish group’s Japanese arm SSE Pacifico.

The Greater Manchester Investment Zone is intended to provide £160 million of public funding over 10 years to initiatives to support businesses in Greater Manchester, helping to create 32,000 jobs and leverage private sector investment.

Through the Fujitsu agreement, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said it will work with the company to determine where the company’s technological expertise can enhance Greater Manchester’s manufacturing sector.

Together, Greater Manchester and Fujitsu “will explore opportunities to deploy the company’s expertise in information technology, automation, and artificial intelligence to help Greater Manchester manufacturers innovate, improve their processes, and increase their productivity.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy, Business, and Inclusive Growth, and Vivek Mahajan, Chief Technology Officer at Fujitsu, signed the agreement in Tokyo.

“The programme plans to build on the city-region’s technological and economic strengths in advanced manufacturing and materials, accelerating the development of growth locations including ID Manchester, with over £1bn of private investment, and Atom Valley,” said GMCA.

“GMCA will continue to work with Government and other partners to co-develop the plans for their Investment Zone, including priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

“Fujitsu employs around 7,000 people across the UK, which is one of its most significant markets outside Japan.

“Fujitsu’s Manchester site is a critical hub for its UK business, supporting some of its largest global customers.

“Manchester is a key focus for its 2022 investment in its Centre for Cognitive and Advanced Technologies and is home to the company’s digital academies programme, which is investing in its future skills requirements.”

Burnham said: “Partnering with Fujitsu is a massive boost for Greater Manchester’s Investment Zone just weeks after its announcement.

“The Investment Zone is an exciting programme that gives us the opportunity to attract private sector partners who can help deliver the ambition for GreaterManchester to be a global hub for the advanced manufacturing and materials sector.

“The agreement also serves as a further demonstration of the value of our trade mission to Japan, working to build a partnership with a global technology company, whose support will directly help GreaterManchester businesses.

“By supporting the growth of those businesses, we can deliver more jobs and opportunities to people across our city-region.”

Craig said: “Our city-region has had links with Fujitsu for over 75 years, going back to the collaboration between the company and the University of Manchester to develop early computer systems. Today, we’re proud that Fujitsu’s Manchester office is a major hub for its UK business.

“This partnership agreement will see us continue to work together for years to come. Fujitsu’s technologies can help Greater Manchester manufacturers become more efficient, sustainable and profitable, supporting our Investment Zone vision and the growth of our advanced manufacturing and materials sector.”

Mahajan said: “This agreement offers an exciting chance to explore how we can use Fujitsu’s strengths in technologies like artificial intelligence to address challenges unique to the manufacturing industry and encourage innovative solutions to problems facing the community.

“We look forward to working together to identify ways to support the sustainable growth and development of Greater Manchester business.”

The Mayor and Cllr Craig led a Greater Manchester delegation mission to Japan aimed at furthering bilateral ties in trade, investment, decarbonisation, culture, and sport.

Greater Manchester leaders also agreed to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SSE Energy Solutions during a visit to the company’s Japanese arm, SSE Pacifico.

Under the agreement SSE Energy Solutions will work with the GMCA to explore ways to accelerate the delivery of renewable energy assets through the use of cutting-edge digital infrastructure solutions in Greater Manchester.

This will made possible through the upskilling of the regions residents, businesses and local supply chain through a range of green skills programmes being delivered across the region.

Neil Kirkby, Managing Director at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “At SSE we want to become the leading net zero infrastructure advisor to both local government and local businesses and this MoU with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is a key example of our ambitions to achieve this.

“We believe strongly in a just and fair transition to net zero and our new Social Value strategy will drive that forward. Decarbonising the country presents opportunities to support communities with regeneration, economic investment, and the creation of sustainable, long-term jobs.”