A £4m grant will fund two new technology business hubs in Manchester with a goal of creating 2,000 new jobs over the next decade.
Two city centre properties will be secured and refurbished with facilities to host and ‘incubate’ entrepreneurs and SMEs working in the digital sector.
Each will be allocated £2m in an initiative called Project Forward, which is aimed at helping start-ups to get on their feet and existing businesses grow.
Funding, allocated by Manchester City Council, was awarded to the city by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
It was decided splitting the grant between two tech hubs would provide better value for money and maximise benefits for the city following a procurement exercise.
This will also provide 140,000sq ft of floorspace, twice what had been originally envisaged for a single hub.
The best proposals were from Bruntwood/Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and Allied London Properties Ltd, who were judged to have scored equally.
Allied London’s tech hub will be located in Enterprise City, St John’s (on the former ITV Granada site) as part of 600,000sq ft of digital and creative tech space, and will focus on the retail, media and TV sectors.
The Bruntwood/MSP tech hub will be located on the former site of the BBC, in Oxford House, Circle Square as part of a major new tech and science business destination.It will focus on data science and technology innovation.
Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “Manchester is already a nationally and internationally significant centre for digital and tech businesses.
“Support for start-ups and growing businesses in this sector will both help create jobs and stimulate further investment.“
“Manchester is determined to be in the forefront of the digital revolution and these two new tech hubs will make a key contribution and ensure that the £4m funding we were awarded has the best impact possible.”
Tech North and the Manchester Growth Company will be involved in the continuous support of the development of both hubs, and assist in the management and monitoring of performance.
Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “This award is wonderful news for Manchester as a leading location for digital innovators to create and grow brilliant technology businesses.
“The city has a flourishing and diverse tech community. Our amazing partnership which includes Manchester Digital Complete Resourcing and the city’s universities brings together the complete package of specialist services needed for business success.
“Start-ups and scale-ups will have better access to talent and skills and to new sources of funding ensuring that tech entrepreneurs can fulfil their growth potential.”
Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, added: “Enterprise is one of the three backbones for our St Johns neighbourhood where a variety of workspace infrastructure will be developed.
“The grant as part of Project Forward will now be used to create, develop and evolve a much larger focused tech infrastructure platform within Enterprise City for digital-enabled enterprises specifically in the Media Retail and TV and Film industries.
“This grant will enable us to establish Enterprise City as an international brand attracting much needed talent and capital to develop Manchester as a city for the digital world “