Manchester Central announce first events to be supported through its Incubator programme

Manchester Central has announced the first two events which will be run through its Incubator scheme.

The scheme, which called for submissions earlier this year, aims to support businesses looking to move into events with a support package worth tens of thousands of pounds.

As one of the UK’s largest venues, Manchester Central launched the initiative to support the sector’s resurgence, as it sought to attract and shape new and unique events to keep innovation at the heart of the industry and boost the sector in the North West.

Shaun Hinds, CEO at Manchester Central, said: “We were incredibly impressed with the number of high calibre submissions through our Incubator scheme and we are proud to be investing time, money and expertise into these two concepts.

“Both events are ambitious and creative in their staging and we are looking forward to working with the two organisers over the coming year.”

The chosen events, presented to a panel of judges as part of the selection process, are:

  • PlannerFest – Submitted by Becki Cross of Events Northern Ltd, PlannerFest is a unique event aimed at planner, journalling and stationery lovers, encompassed within a food and festival vibe. Having already trialled the concept on a smaller scale in 2019, with the backing of Manchester Central, organisers will bring the concept to a larger, more mainstream audience.
  • Climate Positive (working title) – Submitted by IIona Alcock of Elevate, ‘Climate Positive’ will showcase the best in sustainability through panel discussions, Q&A, keynotes, product demonstrations and an exhibition. A carbon audit of the event will be conducted and published showing where reductions in emissions have been made.

The Manchester Central team will now work with the organisers to tailor the support needed for their events, providing guidance and expertise throughout.

The GC Business Growth Hub has also partnered with Manchester Central to offer wider business support as part of the initiative. Their services include programmes for start-ups, scale-ups and innovation.

Becki Cross of PlannerFest said: “I’m delighted to have been chosen for this fantastic opportunity. We are planning to develop and host an event with a difference, which will leave a lasting impression with everyone who attends.”

Ilona Alcock of Elevate added: “I’m really looking forward to utilising the expertise of the Manchester Central team to amplify what can be achieved, helping us to position sustainability at the forefront of business and consumer-decision making. It will be a great learning opportunity for us and we can’t wait to get going!”


For PlannerFest, panel judges were particularly impressed by the loyal following the organiser had created for the concept and the fact she is an ambassador for her industry. The organiser also had a sound record taking events to market and was passionate about scaling up to grow the event.

In the case of Climate Positive, judges were impressed by the background of the organisers who already operate alongside a number of key companies across the North West and the UK in terms of actively promoting sustainable methods of working, demonstrating a fundamental understanding of their specialism. They also liked how the scope of the event may span both a consumer and trade audience, advocating for living in a more sustainable manner in the future.

Incubator by Manchester Central is believed to be the first programme of its kind for the events sector.

With more than 23,000m² of space and a capacity of over 10,000, Manchester Central already hosts an array of events from intimate small business meetings to high-profile, large-scale conferences, sporting competitions, public exhibitions, music gigs and trade shows.

Manchester Central announce first events to be supported through its Incubator programme