The North West has a thriving £111 billion economy, the 12th largest in Europe, a population of nearly seven million people and 230,000 successful businesses - operating on a truly international scale.
Within the North West, Manchester is the largest and fastest growing centre for financial, professional and legal services outside London, with more than 240,000 employed within the sector.
Meanwhile, the BBC's announcement that it will move five departments and around 1,500 jobs to Salford Mediacity:uk further confirms Manchester's position as an increasingly influential British media hub.
The Manchester city region accounts for seven per cent of all financial services output in the UK and 10 per cent of all employment, while in the North West as a whole, business and financial services employs 11 per cent of the workforce. A further 46,500 new jobs are predicted for the sector by 2008.
Firms in the region have developed expertise in several fast-growing areas, including AIM listings, venture capital investment, public-private partnerships, private wealth management and sports, maritime and environmental law.
Over 60 banks have operations in Manchester, 40 of which are overseas-owned, ensuring it thrives as the largest regional corporate finance and stock-broking centre in England. Key employers in the region include Bank of New York, JP Morgan, Cooperative Financial Services, Royal Bank of Scotland, MBNA, Barclays, M&S Money and - two recent new investors - Bank of America and the State Bank of India.
Above all, competitive business costs have created a robust economy that features 65 of the FTSE100 companies. Businesses based in Manchester benefit from a highly competitive cost-base when compared to London and other European capitals, with Manchester one of the top 10 cities in Europe for affordability and availability of office space.
Source: North West Development Agency