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NQ Lands Government-Backed 'Tech North' HQ

Digital 'start-up hub' aims to emulate East London's Tech City and nurture the North's tech talent

Written by . Published on February 11th 2015.


NQ Lands Government-Backed 'Tech North' HQ
 

TECH North, a new government-backed scheme to nurture tech ideas and interent start-up businesses in the North, will set up headquarters in the Northern Quarter.

The Tech Nation report states over 56,000 people from Greater Manchester now work within the digital sector

The new scheme will aim to replicate in Manchester the success of the goverment's Tech City initiative, launched around a grisly roundabout in London's Shoreditch in 2010.

The area - dubbed 'Silicon Roundabout' (the UK's supposed answer to California's 'Silicon Valley') - has become the poster-child for the UK's burgeoning tech sector, "a place for start-up companies to come together and become the next generation of entrepreneurs," said PM David Cameron.

According to a new government-back report, nearly 1.5m people now work in the digital economy across the UK, accounting for nearly 8% of the total workforce.

The Tech Nation report states over 56,000 people from Greater Manchester now work within the digital sector, with Manchester's average turnover of digital companies up by over 70% between 2010 and 2013 - thus making Manchester the perfect place to base the government's new Tech North initiative.

Silicon_Roundabout_At_NightSilicon Roundabout - Shoreditch

Stevenson 'Silicon' Square?NQ's Stevenson 'Silicon' Square?

However, as some detractors have pointed out, the report also states that 74% of UK digital start-up companies are now based outside of London, indicating organic growth within the industry is healthy and government support may - as Tech City critics claimed - be old fashioned bandwagon jumping.

Many of London's Tech City start-ups now complain of being pushed out of Silicon Roundabout by the arrival of multinationals and escalting rents, while £50m of goverment funding into the scheme has recently been pulled.

Regardless, when Tech City launched in 2010 there were 200 digital companies around the Silicon Roundabout, by 2014 there were 1,300, and with Tech North seeking to siphon some of that investment away from the capital and up into the provinces (falling in line with the government's favourite new decentralised 'Northern Powerhouse' rhetoric), you won't find many fledgling northern start-ups unwilling to take a bite of that apple.

Chancellor George Osborne added: "What's so exciting about today's Tech Nation report is that it shows how we're seeing the growth of tech businesses right across the country.

"As part of our plan for a truly national recovery we will do everything we can to support this growth and back the different tech clusters that are emerging around Britain."

The exact location and launch date of Tech North is yet to be confirmed.

www.techcityuk.com/technation

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James SmithFebruary 14th 2015.

Shame the software companies of machester and Liverpool didn't get the support they asked for when they needed to prevent getting picked off by American and Japanese companies. Up there with anything in Silicon Valley at the time. Wanted tax breaks, said they were going to get swallowed up, but weren't in the city of London and in financial services at a guess. More magnificent Whitehalll foresight.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 10th 2015.

this is a very interesting comment thanks. Could you give a bit more detail (to support a bit of googling) - names of companies, when was this, the 80s? Thanks! Andrew Wilson (I can't be bothered to make an account!)

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2015.

True. We wouldn't want anyone thinking other cities in this country are relevant would we.

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