The North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) is an independent group of influential business leaders, who work together to promote the sustainable economic development and long-term well-being of North West England.   It was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales at Blackburn in July 1989.

The membership of NWBLT is made up of senior executives from the region’s major businesses – for a full list of members please click on "Team Members" above.   It operates as an independent business voice for the whole North West, thus providing valuable strategic support for the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships.

NWBLT members are currently engaged in a programme of thought leadership addressing issues of major concern to North West business.  These include Skills for Industry, Transport Investment and Science & Innovation.  As senior business leaders, NWBLT believes the time has come for a more forward-looking and innovative approach to public policy, particularly in these three areas.

NWBLT also sponsors and administers the annual Lever Prize to stimulate collaboration between the North West’s cultural and business communities (with support from Arts & Business) and an annual Schools Science Competition for pupils from years 7 and 8 in North West schools.

NWBLT welcomes hearing from business leaders and representatives of organisations who share our vision of working together and contributing to the success of the North West as a great place in which to live and work. Our Business Leadership Forum is open to anybody with a bona fide interest in the long-term well-being of the region.

Latest News

Forum meeting to discuss how to mazimise the benefits of HS2

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Events > Transport Infrastructure > Events

Mike Blackburn

The next meeting of the North West Business Leadership Forum will be taking place at Bruntwood Limited, City Tower, Manchester at 5.00 for 5.30pm on Monday 12 May 2014. This meeting will be focusing on maximizing the benefits of the proposed HS2 high speed rail project for the North West, with a panel including Mike Blackburn (BT and the Chair of Greater Manchester LEP), Paul Chapman (Communications Director for HS2 Ltd), Alex Hynes (MD of Northern Rail) and David Thrower (Transport Consultant).

The recent publication of the “HS2 Plus” report by HS2’s Chairman, Sir David Higgins, and of the HS2 Growth Taskforce consultation, has raised the prospect of HS2 serving the North West somewhat earlier than previously anticipated. This in turn heightens the importance for the region of ensuring it is ready to make the most of the advantages which HS2 can bring to the North West. The meeting should be an interesting debate on the issues and challenges involved.

Minister for Universities and Science makes a surprise appearance at NWBLT launch

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Science & Innovation > Events > News

David Wlletts MP at Podium

David Willetts MP, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, surprised the delegates by opening the launch event of the NWBLT’s Science, Technology and Innovation Report. In his unscheduled appearance the Minister spoke warmly of his support for the approach NWBLT had taken with the “Exploiting the Excellence” report, by focusing on the North West’s four distinct strengths in materials, energy, cancer and computing science. For a film of the Minister’s opening address please click through to the main article.

North West set for innovation boom as business leaders call for sustained R&D investment

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Science & Innovation > Events > News


The North West Business Leadership Team has released a detailed report into the science and innovation potential of the North West, highlighting that business could be set to gain significantly from the well-established R&D capacity available across the region.

The influential grouping is publishing its report, ‘Exploiting the Excellence’, at the Museum of Science and Industry, with keynote speeches by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, and Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The NWBLT companies, which employ more than 50,000 people in the region, collaborated with universities, centres of R&D excellence alongside Local Enterprise Partnerships to highlight the region’s capability to be at the heart of an “innovation revolution”.

NWBLT’s 4th Report to be launched at International Festival for Business

Posted & filed under Essential Resources > Events


The next report in NWBLT’s programme of thought leadership is focussing on essential resources – specifically looking at energy, food and water. The North West’s capacity for sustaining supplies of these resources offers significant potential opportunities over the long term and the report will consider what actions need to be taken now in order to ensure we all benefit in the future. This report will be launched at the International Festival for Business (IFB 2014) in Liverpool in early June.

The IFB will also be exhibiting a relief model of North West England, designed to contribute to the debate regarding future supplies of essential resources for business and industry. Its main focus will be upon sources of energy generation and communications across the region.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell to launch NWBLT Science, Technology and Innovation Report

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Events > Science & Innovation > Events > News

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & VC of The University of Manchester

Friday 28th March sees the launch of the next in the series of NWBLT’s thought leadership reports on Science, Technology and Innovation. The event is taking place at the Museum of Science and Industry and will feature a keynote speech from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & VC of the University of Manchester. The launch is particularly timely after the announcements in the recent budget.

The launch event is kindly being sponsored by AstraZeneca, Baxi, The University of Manchester and United Utilities.

Forum meeting to focus on North West’s 5 LEPs

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Events

PZ Cussons, Manchester Business Park

The next meeting of the NWBLT’s Forum will be taking place at PZ Cussons, 3500 Aviator Way, Manchester Business Park, M22 5TG on Tuesday 18 March at 5.00pm for 5.30pm. It will feature a “Question Time” panel discussion with representatives from all five of the North West LEPs.

The session will be chaired as usual by Geoffrey Piper, CEO of NWBLT, and the panel will include Gillian Bishop (Cumbria LEP), Mike Damms (Lancashire LEP), Aidan Manley (Cheshire & Warrington LEP), Karen Tierney (Greater Manchester LEP) and Alan Welby (Liverpool City Region LEP)

Along with the usual networking this Forum meeting will also provide members with an opportunity to put questions to some of the people most closely involved with the day-to-day operation of the North West’s principal economic and enterprise organisations.

Contact, Manchester has won the prestigious Lever Prize 2014

Posted & filed under General News & Events > Promoting the Region's Advantages > The Lever Prize > News

Contact building

Contact win £10,000 and this opens the door to a year-long collaboration with some of the region’s most influential business leaders.

The Lever Prize, launched nine years ago, has successfully revived the philanthropic traditions of the industrial past, embodied by soap magnate and patron of the arts, William Lever, after whom it is named. Each year it is judged by NWBLT, which comprises senior representatives of around 30 of the most influential North West companies, in partnership with Arts & Business. The award is not just for arts groups, but buildings, events, festivals, libraries and archives are all eligible.