Manchester businesses discuss the future of creative and digital

Manchester is getting noticed.

Now one of Europe’s top technology hubs, the city is making waves across the creative and digital fields too.

Pro-Manchester, the largest business development organisation in Greater Manchester and the North West, wanted to explore what’s driving this success. They set up an event and invited a group of experts from top northern companies to take part in a panel discussion on the subject.

Matt Hunt, CEO of our Enterprise arm, gave his two cents alongside:

  • Erica Ingham, CFO at MediaCom North
  • Alex Connock, Digital Video Entrepreneur
  • Mikael Hellberg, Head of Games, Animation and Media at Access to Music
  • Paul Allen, Partner at SI Partners

Here’s what you missed…

What’s behind the success?

Manchester has never been home to so many start-ups; with 79 new businesses per 10,000 people, that’s 58% higher than the UK average. Businesses aren’t just flocking here, but thriving here.

Entrepreneurial spirit will always find a home in Manchester; a multitude of networking events make it easy to meet more like us, and it offers far more affordable city-life than London.

Plus, Manchester has always been home to budding mobile minds, with a rich tech heritage; long before the likes of Apple, Sony Ericsson were based Warrington.

Our greatest challenges

Raising awareness and filling the skills gap – the two most important challenges currently facing the creative, digital and technology industries.

How can companies in Manchester raise their profiles and appeal to new talent? Both these areas wind down to better education.

First, by going into schools, telling them about the huge opportunities in our industries, and building connections within the teaching sector, we’ll make our voices stand out.

Second, we need to offer more apprenticeships. We need to look for enthusiasm and a willingness to learn rather than just grades – if they provide the passion, we can give them the tools and encouragement.

The future of Manchester’s digital scene

“Technology and other creative, digital industries have their roots in Manchester. Before any of the big-name brands came along, we were testing the first smartphones, building the first apps, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue.

“The future of this scene lies in continued investment. Our Ventures arm actively seeks out start-ups that aim to disrupt their industries, but investors need to offer more than money – guidance and industry expertise is crucial to businesses surviving.

“It’s also vital that we go into schools and tell people exactly why the digital space is the place to be – kids who learn coding language early on are almost guaranteed a position in tech, able to walk into the skills gap we’re currently battling.

“What would I like to see when I’m retired? Manchester known as the Silicon Canal! An aspirational place for people in digital and tech to not just work, but live and breathe their industry.”

Matt Hunt, CEO Apadmi Enterprise

If you’d like to listen to the full panel discussion, you can download the audio file here.

Are you a tech start-up looking for advice on your tech capabilities?

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