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Greater Manchester has established itself as a tech hub of international significance, home to a £5bn digital ecosystem which includes thousands of digital and tech businesses. Companies based here raised more than £500m last year, the highest amount of investment in any region outside London and the South East.
In recent years the city-region has attracted a succession of global tech companies, like Amazon, Booking.com and Roku, while growing our own startups and scaleups. Our offer is clear – we have a skilled workforce, with the UK’s largest student population and 40,000 graduates every year. We’ve been named the UK’s most liveable city, and this a place where businesses at every stage of their journey can attract investment and find a suitable base.
This has been the result of a strategic approach over the past 15 years to create a leading European tech hub. Strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, as well as academia, business groups and communities, have helped us get things done.
This report reflects on the progress made so far, but our journey is far from over. We want to make Greater Manchester the UK’s leading technical education city-region, using powers devolved to us in the trailblazer devolution deal to help overcome the tech skills gap. The new £10m Digital Security Hub – DiSH – will support growing digital security companies, building on our emerging expertise in cybersecurity. Through our Digital Inclusion Taskforce we are addressing the barriers to digital inclusion, ensuring everyone can access the opportunities in our growing digital economy.
The Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint – refreshed earlier this year – sets out our ambition to become a world-leading digital city-region and gives us a clear roadmap to follow. As the tech sector continues to thrive, it will play an increasingly important role in creating a greener, fairer and more prosperous Greater Manchester.
Introduction from our sponsors
Manchester has been my home for some time, having studied at the University of Salford and created the UK office of Planisware in MediaCityUK back in 2016. I was thrilled to hear about UKTN’s focus on Manchester and its surrounding area because I firmly believe the North West has all the ingredients to drive future innovation.
Greater Manchester has a strong history in tech, with strengths in AI, e-commerce, cyber, and more playing to its £5bn reputation. Planisware, an industry leader in the project portfolio management and strategic portfolio management scene, is no stranger to tech innovation. Our engagement with the Manchester ecosystem underpins our drive to be a net-positive contributor to the area.
Our regional engagement includes working with local colleges to deepen talent pools; supporting those from under-represented backgrounds to ensure equal access to our industry; and working with universities to increase access to current leadership thinking and tech in lecture rooms. My role as the chair of the Industry Advisory Board at Salford Business School aims to achieve the above. Manchester is the largest city region economy outside of London. By increasing collaboration between schools and industry, championing D&I representation, and delivering industry thought leadership content, we can maintain this status.
Salford Business School is proud to sponsor this insightful UKTN regional report, further highlighting Greater Manchester's place as a leading global tech hub. Based at the heart of the Greater Manchester business and digital sector, our deep-rooted connection to this dynamic region guides our mission of preparing students for a digital future.
Here at the school, we are committed to creating an inclusive tech talent pipeline that mirrors the diversity of our city. Many of our students are pioneers in their families, breaking new ground by being the first to attend university. Their commitment mirrors our belief in education as a catalyst for change. Sponsoring this report reinforces our dedication to Greater Manchester's thriving digital and tech scene.
Greater Manchester's historical role in the industrial revolution positions it perfectly for leading the digital revolution. Recognising that every business is now a technology business and that technology impacts on every job function, Salford Business School is committed to developing a digitally-savvy cohort of future professionals. By embedding digital certifications into the curricula, we ensure our approach is genuinely inclusive and available to all, including those who combine study with work or caring responsibilities.
By sponsoring this report, we reaffirm our dedication to enriching the regional tech ecosystem, and we eagerly anticipate supporting the growth of businesses and individuals locally, nationally, and globally.
Professor Janice Allan,
Greater Manchester tech in numbers
NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
GM Advanced Diagnostics Accelerator
KPMG ScaleUp Programme
Business Growth Hub
Oxford Innovation – Salford and Stockport
Help to Grow – University of Salford and MMU
University of Manchester Innovation Factory
Mercia Asset Management
Maven Capital Partners
Catapult Venture Managers
Sure Valley Ventures
YFM Equity Partners
Palatine Private Equity
Tech North Advocates
Manchester Tech Week
Manchester Tech Festival
Digital City Festival
Manchester Metropolitan University
The University of Manchester
University of Salford
University Academy 92
University of Bolton