A NEW business community venture for firms in Bolton and Greater Manchester is heading over the Pennines.

Supporters of Leeds-based The Northern Affinity, which has been providing a showcase for West Yorkshire outfits, is launching a GM offshoot.

And an online launch has been pencilled in for Thursday for the initiative, which is seen as part of the Northern Powerhouse movement.

Promoters are keen to point out that GM has, on average, 40 per cent cheaper set-up costs than London, and a GVA well above average.

Founder Michael Edwards said: “There’s a whole load of potential to be tapped into in Greater Manchester, so we’re thrilled to be expanding. We welcome anyone who wants to be part of something and has the drive to make a difference.

“Our aim is our new groups will play a role in the ongoing economic success and development of these areas and the wider Northern Powerhouse. I encourage any prospective partners to attend our virtual launch events.”

Anna Short, a GM partner, added: “Our region has a fantastic business story to tell, and I’m thrilled to be part of this expansion.

“With 98.6 per cent of firms in Manchester reporting an impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will look to build back better collaboration within the business community, playing a vital role in Manchester’s future growth and prosperity."

An events page has been set up on The Northern Affinity's website.