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Virgin Atlantic’s new flight between San Francisco and Manchester launches on the 28th March, opening the city up to new business opportunities and further growth. But how can the Northern Powerhouse benefit from this new relationship?

Lovingly dubbed ‘San-Man’ by the press, this new connection between the two cities is being facilitated by a direct flight courtesy of Virgin Atlantic. The flight – lasting 11 hours and 20 minutes – is set to benefit not only Manchester, but the wider region – furthering the international recognition the Northern Powerhouse has been working towards since its inception.

shutterstock_555148006 (1)A Cultural Exchange

It presents an opportunity to attract a whole host of new people, ideas and businesses to the Northern Powerhouse – and the region has plenty to offer in return. As GBG’s Richard Law highlighted last April, there’s a very real opportunity for the West Coast and the North West to learn from one another. From the underpinning entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area, to the way things are done across the Pond, there’s plenty of knowledge up for grabs.

In return, the Northern Powerhouse has a history of initiative and industry on offer. Despite some government noise around the movement, the Northern Powerhouse has very much relied on businesses, individuals and causes to champion it. In fact, as Lawrence Jones MBE pointed out following the announcement last year, the very notion of a direct flight between the two cities has been thought up and executed independently by Virgin Atlantic, without contribution from the government.

With the concept of ‘super-commuting’ becoming more likely, businesses from both sides of the Pond can be mingling and learning from one another imminently – and the cultural exchange is sure to benefit all involved.

shutterstock_255819034 (1)Putting the North on the Global Stage

One of the most prevalent ongoing goals for the Northern Powerhouse is to put the North of England on a footing that can rival international capital cities and create better global links between the region and potential partners.

With an uncertain relationship between ourselves and Europe ahead of us, the actions of the Northern Powerhouse are a chance to shield the region from most of the uncertainty Brexit will bring. Already, relationships are being forged with China, with the Chancellor offering billions in projects to the Chinese government – an offer which has already set the Powerhouse off on its journey to international recognition.

Investing in Technology

San Francisco has a long history of silicon-based innovation; home to tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Likewise, a large amount of effort and investment has gone into turning Manchester into the second biggest tech-hub in the UK. But how can the benefits of links to Silicon Valley trickle down out of Manchester and into the rest of the Powerhouse?

shutterstock_155001419 (1) (1)One way is the increased opportunities for investment on offer to the Northern Powerhouse. As highlighted by Formisimo’s Al Mackin in Financial Times coverage of the announcement, San Francisco accounts for 25% of all global venture capitalist investment – compared to London’s 2%. The Northern Powerhouse cities will therefore have a more direct link to greater investment opportunities, of particular benefit for start-ups in the area.

Improved transport links make face-to-face meetings with investors a reality, increasing the likelihood of securing financing. As GP Bullhound’s Nick Horrocks highlighted in an opinion piece by Business Cloud, “this could mean the difference between an investment happening or not…the more we can do to foster and support the early stage and start-up community, the better”.

No matter your thoughts on the Northern Powerhouse itself, there’s a clear opportunity for businesses across the region to benefit from this improved connection to an international audience. From new tech ideas, to better investment and less travel time, Virgin Atlantic’s service is sure to improve the business communities on both sides of the Atlantic – a relationship we’re looking forward to.

Kaleida are bespoke software developers working with businesses across the Northern Powerhouse to provide them with high quality solutions without the software licence fees. To find out more about what we have on offer, feel free to get in touch.

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