Tech Manchester – a new not-for-profit initiative dedicated to supporting the development of technology businesses and raising the profile of the city’s accelerating digital sector – launches today.
The project is headed up by former Regus director Patricia Keating and backed by a number of high-profile entrepreneurs including UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE.
The organisation has a particular focus on connecting technical mentors with early-stage technology businesses alongside connecting talent with potential investors.
Tech Manchester is already working alongside organisations like the Business Growth Hub, part of Manchester Growth Company, sharing resources and connections to deliver an improved tech mentoring offering in Manchester.
“We’re here to champion and raise the profile of Manchester in every possible way,” said Keating.
“We aren’t the story, we’re just here to help tell it. The reality of business is that no one can do it alone. That’s why we are focused on connecting and collaborating at every level.
“Whilst there are organisations with the big names and organisations managed from London, we are attracting mentors who have recently been there and done it and creating an ecosystem which adds real value to the tech industry in the city.
“We have 45 mentors committed to the project so far and we expect that to grow massively in the coming year.
“Tech Manchester is set to become the largest network of tech mentors in the country.”
The project is the brainchild of former Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, who last year called for a new body to champion the work of the Manchester tech community with the aim of creating a city where tech firms flourish.
Jones said: “This has been a number of years in the making. I set a goal to help Manchester become the number one tech city in the UK, so when Sir Howard asked me to help with this incredible project he inspired me enormously.
“We’ve spent some time canvassing opinion from every layer of the tech community. We are now ready to deliver a strategy to drive the city’s tech credentials and continue to consult and engage with all stakeholders in Manchester tech.
“I was filled with confidence on meeting Andy Burnham and hearing his vision to make Manchester the number one tech city in Europe.
“I’m confident that with a joined up approach between public and private sector, combined with the experience of Sir Richard Lees and the energy of our new mayor Manchester tech is poised to flourish.”
Janine Smith, head of growth services at the Business Growth Hub, said: “It’s no secret that many of the entrepreneurs in leading start-ups and early-stage companies in the tech sector have strong relationships with the founders of other successful companies – because if you want your business to be among the best, you need a mentor who knows how to reach that level.
“Tech Manchester will attract the very best our region has to offer into a very rewarding role, offering them a new challenge and playing an important part in developing future successful business in Greater Manchester.
“This kind of specialised one-to-one support is proven to deliver significant results, further accelerating the region’s booming tech scene.”