Why Manchester is the UK's best city for tech entrepreneurs
Record numbers of people are relocating from London to Manchester - the UK's top digital tech city - as new opportunities open up and the regional sector continues to grow. But what makes the city the place to be for tech?
Gary Bennion, Managing Director of CloudM, outlines all the reasons the second city has moved into first place for tech.
CloudM will be exhibiting and speaking at this year's Digital City Expo, which you can register for now.
The 21st century has brought with it some exciting innovations. The age of technology and the industry that came on its back has firmly rooted itself in major regions all around the world, asserting tech as one of the most lucrative business ventures.
Outside Silicon Valley, Manchester is one of the most prominent and exciting cities in the world for those either looking for a career in tech, or developing their own tech businesses.
As technology leads the way to an even brighter future, Manchester flourishes with talent, bold ideas, and even more possibility for greatness.
Not only home to a £5 billion, fast-growing digital ecosystem, Manchester has been named the UK's Top Digital Tech City - according to The Data City - with ambitions to become a top-five European digital city.
Leading the way in innovation
While the North of England is known for its industry innovation, there’s still a lot to prove and recognition is not given so easily against competitors in the capital.
Throughout history, Manchester has excelled at bringing forward our greatest minds and skills to build even greater advances. And how can a city that invented the computer not be recognised as one of the most influential in the world?
With a clear proven track record for innovation, development and creativity, Manchester was a clear choice for CloudM's HQ. It continues to be at the forefront of technology among other flourishing industries in the city including fashion, sport, construction and music.
A wealth of working opportunities
We’ve seen a continuous trend in people flocking to Manchester, and many of our own staff have moved here from around the UK.
Just look at the huge construction developments that are ever-changing in the city - making room, quite literally, for a booming workforce.
Big-name corporations like Microsoft, Unilever and Kellogg’s are all rooted in Manchester’s proud and impressive business history. Similarly, newer industry giants have emerged from Manchester’s streets including Boohoo and Archie's, while many other large corporations have made the move to the North as well.
The career opportunities here are vast, impressive and exciting. For us, it’s inspiring to be amongst great companies and helps to fuel our ambitious drive.
The city's unrivalled talent pool
Not only is Manchester home to world-renowned companies, it’s also a hub for thriving new ones, boasting a community of more than 10,000 digital and tech businesses - ranging from start-ups and SMEs to global brands and numerous homegrown, talented entrepreneurs, leading to a vast range of exciting career opportunities.
Plus, the cost of living is much more reasonable up North, so it’s almost a no-brainer for people to join Manchester's great tech community.
The city also boasts three universities drawing a collective student population of more than 100,000 with leading science and technology courses.
This is one of the most appealing factors of Manchester, as it has a firm hold on the creative talent that is fueling the technology industry. It's a clear recipe for success and one that other cities could learn a great deal from - investing in talented youth and creating clear connections and opportunities for those with a passion for the industry.
A commitment to culture
Aside from the perhaps more well known facts, figures and history, Manchester also offers a second-to-none culture. Ask anyone in the city and they’ll give you the same answer - it’s one of the best cities in the world!
A friendly, passionate and creative buzz surrounded by metropolitan establishments and long-standing cult classics, Manchester has a special quality that simply cannot be replicated.
Those who are drawn there can forget the rat race of the capital and enjoy a communicative atmosphere where networking is not just a business event, it’s a way of life.
A connected ecosystem of business and investment
Manchester’s tech scene may be diverse and prominent but it is still a smaller, more well-connected ecosystem compared to London and other global players such as Los Angeles and New York.
There's a certain energy within the city that feels much more supportive than competitive. Even though each business wants to succeed, there’s a real appreciation for other businesses' success as well. We aren’t afraid to ask for help and in return offer help too.
Another great benefit of launching a business in Manchester is the investment and loan opportunities that are exclusive to the city.
Bodies including the North West Fund, Greater Manchester Investment Fund (GMIF), Business Finance Solutions (BFS), or angel networks such as Northwest Business Angels or Angels Den are all available to budding entrepreneurs. For those looking to launch their own business, it’s great to know that there are clear supportive systems in place to ensure your passionate project is a great success.
CloudM is proud to be a part of the city’s incredible tech industry. We’re amongst some amazing key players in the industry and the opportunities for collaboration have been extremely beneficial to us.
Many of our customers are based in Manchester too, so our business has truly felt the benefits of being a part of this flourishing city.