Late last year myself and Dr Neil McArthur, supported by a group of local tech companies, organisations and experts who are involved in the support and acceleration of small tech businesses, undertook a research exercise to assess the state of Manchester’s tech economy.
We interviewed over sixty individuals, businesses and institutions, including The Landing, to see if we could identify the gaps and any disconnect between the needs of the market and the support on offer.
What we found was a labyrinth of well-intentioned participants, often overlapping but not as synchronised as they might be.
We also discovered there was a surprising number of bodies providing advice, finance and support facilities for tech and digital start-ups and scale-ups.
Our subsequent report, Technology Enterprise in Greater Manchester, confirmed that there is a real demand for such support, and that clusters like The Landing have key roles to play in stimulating growth.
However it also highlighted the limitations of the current state-of-play, and a pressing need to connect the different communities together and present a much more coordinated, and therefore compelling, view of tech in Manchester to the wider world.
We offered a number of recommendations on how best to knit this fabric together, and then challenged ourselves as to how we, as a city, respond to this.
As a result of we are creating the Manchester Tech Trust (MTT), a private-sector not-for-profit initiative whose purpose is to support the technology and enterprise revolution, and to stimulate business creation in Greater Manchester.
The MTT will be an impartial and honest broker, and a proactive facilitator, and aims to help shape a shared narrative which will bring people and ideas together.
It will also be a door to knock on for those businesses seeking funding, and for those investors looking to invest in Manchester’s tech sector, but that aren’t sure quite where to begin.
The MTT is committed to maximising Manchester’s once in a generation opportunity to become a global force in technological innovation and digital commerce.
Peter Lusty, Manchester Tech Trust