Manchester’s tech sector is “on the road to greatness” but only if it avoids a number of pitfalls along the way.
That was the message from Katie Peate, head of digital, creative and tech at Business Growth Hub, when she spoke at BusinessCloud’s Focus on the Tech Scene in Manchester breakfast.
More than 100 people attended Friday’s event at KPMG, which was held in association with recruitment agency Search, and heard from a panel of experts and industry leaders and a panel of entrepreneurs.
Peate said the overall message across Greater Manchester was “massively upbeat” but warned that the region’s tech sector couldn’t be complacent and needs to coordinate, as well as maximise, its assets.
“I think Manchester is on the cusp of greatness,” she told BusinessCloud. “There’s a vibrancy across the region with tech disrupters making waves across the world.
“However we know there is a shortage of programmers and experienced staff. We heard stories at the event from graduates going from £25k to £50k in four years and that’s not sustainable.
“It’s also vital the wealth is spread across Greater Manchester and not just little pockets of the city centre.”
Peate, who was appointed last year and heads up a team of 15 people, invited companies to take part in the Hub’s Greater Connected programme, which encourages companies to scale up.
“Ultimately my job is to help companies grow,” she said. “There’s help for start-ups and there’s help for the big multi nationals but there’s less help available for businesses in the middle that want to scale up. That’s where the Greater Connected programme comes in.
“If Manchester is to punch its weight in the tech scene it needs an ecosystem that supports it and Greater Connected is one piece of the jigsaw.”
The discussion surrounding the event on Twitter took place at #mcrtech, which was trending across the city region.
Tech entrepreneurs who spoke were Danny Manu, founder, Mymanu; Jamil Khalil, CEO and founder, Wakelet; Tom Williams, co-founder, Rota; Damian Hanson, co-founder and director, Mission Labs; and Michael Howe, founding partner, Campus Capital.
Also on the panels were Tech North director Richard Gregory, Philip Piper, head of IT, digital & change for Search in England, Graham Pearce, head of TMT for KPMG in the regions, and Kerry Wright, alliances director at Purple.