Manchester typically evokes images of football, rainy days, and gravy—but it may soon be known for its innovative community of tech startups. In recent years, Britain’s third largest city has become a hotbed of digital innovation, boasting the highest number of IT jobs outside of London.
In fact, the popular expression “north-shoring” was coined to describe the growing number of startups and companies relocating to Manchester from London. Indeed, the Northern England metropolis has much to digital entrepreneurs looking for an ideal environment to start up—here are 11 of the top reasons why Manchester might be the next Silicon Valley.
11. A vibrant social scene and affordable accommodations for young tech professionals.
Local entrepreneurs can attain the proper work-life balance with minimal effort, as Manchester is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, plentiful entertainment options, and comparatively lower housing costs. Additionally, the cost of living is almost 30% cheaper than London.
10. A large local network of professional and tech-oriented groups.
Local tech entrepreneurs enjoy a myriad of professional networks and collaboration opportunities via organizations like Tech North and its newly launched accelerator North Stars. Other prominent organizations supporting Manchester’s tech startups include The Business Growth Hub, MIDAS, MadLab, SpacePortX, and Rise, to name a few.
9. Ease of mobility and ample transportation options.
Manchester boasts a comprehensive tram and bus system that make it easy to get around the city; for international destinations, both Manchester and Liverpool Airports are easily accessible—as is Greater London. Additionally, a free bus runs on 3 circular routes covering all city centre areas.
8. Local connectivity to fellow entrepreneurs and support organizations at various global tech startup events.
The city plays host to various tech events on an ongoing basis that attract entrepreneurs all over the globe. Some of these include the Insight Technology Conference, IP EXPO Manchester, and Smarter Business Tech LIVE, to name a few.
7. An active investment hub and modern offices/infrastructure to set up shop.
Cost-effective, modern offices are readily available for startups to grow their digital ventures. And the city is constantly improving its IT infrastructure—earlier this year, UKFast invested £2.3 million to upgrade its data centre complex. These long-term investments go towards making Manchester the leading tech city in the UK.
6. Low cost of living when compared to neighboring cities.
Imagine living in one of the UK’s most thriving cities on a student budget—this is what Manchester offers. Because cost of living is low when compared to London, tech entrepreneurs can enjoy all the benefits of a cosmopolitan city without the high price tag.
5. A highly skilled and educated workforce.
Historically, Manchester has suffered from significant brain drain to London; these days, the city has established itself as a Northern Powerhouse and a leading destination for professional talent. And with four major universities in close proximity, Manchester is no no short supply of graduates looking to get their foot in the door.
4. Support from the local city government.
Manchester’s government provides a multitude of support resources and public initiatives to spur local entrepreneurship. For example, Enterprise Zones were established in 2011 to stimulate business growth through financial incentives provided directly to businesses and councils. Businesses relocating to these zones can enjoy benefits and discounted business rates for up to 5 years.
3. The rise of co-working spaces in Manchester.
Co-working spaces abound in Manchester, enabling bootstrapped startups to develop their businesses in a professional environment sans the exorbitant overhead of a private office. Some notable facilities include Hello Work, The Shed, MadLab, SpacePortX, and Rise, to name a few.
2. A local tech culture of entrepreneurs helping tech entrepreneurs.
New startup founders and business transplants will never feel alone in Manchester—the local community of entrepreneurs offer plenty of assistance and support to newly arrived upstarts. Events such as Startup Brew (every last Wednesday of the month) and Silicon Drinkabout allow new members of the community to network with Manchester’s tech startup influencers and learn more about what’s going on in the city.
1. A streamlined business application process and tax benefits for startups.
Registering a company costs only £15 and can be completed in 24 hours. Additionally, Manchester’s corporate income tax is 20%—one of the lowest rates worldwide.
The Industrial Revolution started in Manchester at the turn of the 19 century; today, the city has evolved into a tech industry powerhouse and a haven for digital entrepreneurs. Be sure to keep this dynamic and innovative city in your sights in 2017.