A £4million grant will fund two new technology business hubs in Manchester with the goal of creating 2,000 new jobs over the next decade.
Two city centre properties will be secured and refurbished to host and incubate entrepreneurs and SMEs working in the digital sector. Each will be allocated £2m in an initiative called Project Forward, which is aimed at helping start-ups get off the ground and aiding the growth of existing businesses.
The funding, allocated by Manchester City Council, was awarded to the city by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The funding has been split between Bruntwood owned Manchester Science Partnerships and Allied London Properties to create 140,000 square feet of new space for the city’s start-up companies and tech entrepreneurs. It was decided that splitting the money would be the best possible use of it.
The Allied London tech hub will be located in Enterprise City in the new St John’s development on the former ITV Granada site. It will focus on the retail, media and TV sectors.
The MSP tech hub will be located in the Circle Square scheme on Oxford Road at the former BBC site as part of a major new tech and science business destination and will focus on data science and technology innovation.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is already a nationally and internationally significant centre for digital and tech businesses. Support for start-ups and growing businesses in this sector will both help create jobs and stimulate further investment.
“Manchester is determined to be in the forefront of the digital revolution and these two new tech hubs will make a key contribution and ensure that the £4m funding we were awarded has the best impact possible.”
Tech North and the Manchester Growth Company will be involved in the development of the hubs and the management and monitoring of performance.
Anne Dornan, head of innovation at MSP, said: “The city has a flourishing and diverse tech community. Our amazing partnership which includes Manchester Digital Complete Resourcing and the city’s universities brings together the complete package of specialist services needed for business success.
“Start-ups and scale-ups will have better access to talent and skills and to new sources of funding ensuring that tech entrepreneurs can fulfil their growth potential.
“We will work together with the local tech community to create a home and showcase for Manchester’s digital sector which will inspire international attention, drive jobs, and inward investment in the most exciting and disruptive sector of our economy.”
Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, added: “Enterprise is one of the three backbones for our St Johns neighbourhood where a variety of workspace infrastructure will be developed.
“The grant will now be used to create, develop and evolve a much larger focused tech infrastructure platform within Enterprise City for digital-enabled enterprises specifically in the Media Retail and TV and Film industries. This grant will enable us to establish Enterprise City as an international brand attracting much needed talent and capital to develop Manchester as a city for the digital world.”