Manchester Metropolitan University is to work with Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), the UK’s leading science and technology park operator, to launch a new technology incubator in the heart of Manchester’s Innovation District after being awarded £2m from Manchester City Council.
The award, made after a competitive tender, will see MSP and its partners Manchester Digital, Complete Resourcing, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, create a new space for Manchester’s start-up companies and tech entrepreneurs.
This will generate huge benefits for the city’s thriving and diverse digital sector, helping to create hundreds of jobs and driving growth in the city region as innovative tech firms are given relevant support to fulfil their growth potential.
MSP’s bid, based on its signature collaboration and partnership approach, will deliver a complete package of specialist services to support the growth of tech businesses, including access to world class talent, skills development and to an active and engaged investor base.
The new centre, to be located at Oxford House on Bruntwood’s Circle Square campus on Oxford Road, is expected to open in 2017. Circle Square is Manchester’s largest city centre development site at 1 million sq ft, and is targeting occupiers from the engineering, advanced materials and tech sectors.
A second £2m will be invested in a separate creative hub, to be based in Enterprise City, St John’s (on the former ITV Granada site) as part of 600,000sq ft of digital and creative tech space. It would focus on the retail, media and TV sectors.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard said: “We are delighted to have worked with our colleagues and neighbours at MSP on this successful bid to create a hub to help new businesses to get started and for existing businesses to grow quickly and at scale. We are also keen to work with partners across the city on projects for the creative industries, which will benefit from working with us on our planned International Screen School Manchester.”
Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “This initiative is wonderful news for Manchester and its status as a leading location for digital innovators to create and grow brilliant technology businesses.
“The city has a flourishing and diverse tech community. Working with our amazing partners, we will deliver better access to talent and skills, and to new sources of funding, ensuring that tech entrepreneurs can fulfil their growth potential.
“We will work together with the local tech community to create a home and showcase for Manchester’s digital sector which will inspire international attention, drive jobs, and inward investment in the most exciting and disruptive sector of our economy.”
Katie Gallagher, Managing Director of Manchester Digital, said: “The investment in this new centre is great news and we are delighted to be involved. It will help tackle the shortage of skills in the sector, which we know is one of the biggest challenges that have been holding back our community. MSP has done a great job in assembling such a strong line-up of partners who are committed to growing Manchester and the UK’s digital economy.”
Gordon Bateman, Managing Director of Complete Resourcing and Co-Founder of Investor Ladder – an active network of tech investors – added: “We look forward to delivering the new hub with our partners and providing appropriate wrap-around services to support companies as they grow and scale. We believe in the collaborative approach this partnership delivers and are confident it will have a big impact.
“The Investor Ladder network, which has funds of around £7bn under management, will help tech companies prepare for investment by understanding what the investment community wants to see, and I believe this will be hugely beneficial to the new hub.”
The £2m funding, has been allocated by Manchester City Council, and was awarded to the city by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS.)