Last October a team of MBA students from Alliance Manchester Business School joined forces with Rochdale Stronger Together to help build a better understanding of Rochdale Borough’s local economy.

Over ten weeks, the five international MBA students with diverse professional experience delivered 400 hours of project work to develop and pilot a method to understand the flows of goods and services into and out of the Borough.  They then piloted the methodology on the local construction sector. This involved conducting surveys and interviews with local construction firms.

Their findings and recommendation will help Rochdale Stronger Together to identify opportunities for local economic growth and to support new and existing businesses with valuable market intelligence. Today we take great pleasure in publishing their final report.

Report Headlines:

  • A clear methodology for understanding the flows of goods and services into Rochdale Borough (i.e. imports),
  • Excellent insight into the reality on the ground within Rochdale Borough’s construction sector,
  • Valuable information on how best to collect survey data in the future,
  • Steps identified that can be taken to continue developing a good local economy including a some quick wins to unlock potential within the local construction sector.

Key Findings & Recommendations:

  • Following the pilot, the team found £373M of construction related goods and services being imported into the Borough by local construction sector businesses (with 75% confidence). The report identifies substantial opportunity for Rochdale Borough based suppliers to step up and replace a proportion of these imports.
  • The research found only 19% of construction businesses in the Borough have an online presence. This is less than half the UK average (41%). The report recommends some quick wins to increase the online profile of local firms.
  • The greatest portion of businesses selected their suppliers through relationship sources, yet no respondents were part of any business network.  The report recommends some quick wins to help establish face to face and online networking opportunities for local construction firms. This will enable shared learning and chances to collaborate.
  • Understanding Rochdale’s Local Economy relies heavily on primary research.  The report recommends a series of enhancements to make primary research work more efficient.

Next Steps:

  • A number of the operational level recommendations are being directly considered by the Rochdale Stronger Together Buy Local Workstream.
  • The Rochdale Stronger Together Leadership Group will be considering what action it can take to address the remaining recommendations.
  • Rochdale Stronger Together is committed to understanding all parts of the local economy and will be continuing this work for other sectors of the local economy.


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