Posted on March 6, 2017 by staff

Post-Brexit Budget must shore up Northern Powerhouse


A Manchester-based CEO has called on the Government to use Wednesday’s Budget to shore up the Northern Powerhouse initiative as Brexit looms.

James Blake is CEO at Hello Soda, an international data analytics company which was only founded in 2013.

He is concerned that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will impact on the regions’ tech offering.

“As a Northern business owner, I am keen to see significantly more support for the Northern Powerhouse initiative in this Budget,” he said.

“Since the Brexit vote, it is even more important that the Government invests in regions and businesses outside of London.

“Although the private sector is now working in partnership with Government to make the vision a reality, we still have a long way to go to ensure that the UK technology industry doesn’t fall behind and businesses aren’t forced to leave the UK.”

Hello Soda has experienced impressive growth over the past 12 months after opening offices in Bangkok and Texas and increasing its headcount by 120 per cent over the same period.

The company’s multilingual Big Data and text analytics products are already used by organisations across the world to enhance their customer experience.

Blake is hopeful that the Budget – the first since the Brexit vote – can deliver for businesses back in Britain by strengthening in other areas, such as links with education.

“Additional announcements regarding transport or funding would certainly be well received, and anything that supports talent development in particular would be welcome,” he continued.

“I’m sure this is something all businesses across the region would agree with – particularly those in the technology sector.

“It would be brilliant to see Government encourage further collaboration and between business and education.”

Luke Massie, managing director at Lancaster-headquartered Vibe Tickets, said he would like to see young firms supported.

“I’d like to see the Chancellor offer more support to entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Budget,” he said.

“Building your own business is always challenging and so new sources of funding, additional tax relief or support channels would certainly be welcomed.

“Innovative start-ups offer great potential for future economic growth and so I’d hope that the government will continue to focus on facilitating this.” 

Vibe describes itself as the first ethical marketplace app that connects fans so they can exchange live event tickets and interact with other like-minded fans across the world.

It was formed by Massie in response to the growing problem of ticket touts.