Manchester’s landlords invest to future-proof the city’s growth

Insights | Cassandra Wheeldon on November 23, 2016

Manchester is rightly recognised as one of the UK’s most dynamic cities. Building on its industrial heritage, the northern capital is home to a wealth of culture and innovation including leading universities and a thriving new media industry.

The UK’s largest tech cluster outside of London, Manchester is an incubator for tech sector innovation. The Warehouse City has attracted entrepreneurs, leading to a 13% increase in digital employment between 2011 and 2014 and this upward trend shows no sign of slowing.

But in the post-Brexit era, no British city can rest on its laurels. Businesses must look forward at how technology can play an ever-more important role in driving further productivity, efficiency and innovation. Ensuring that companies have the resources to achieve their growth potential is crucial.

As WiredScore launches in Manchester, we commissioned YouGov to research Manchester’s rising status as a tech hub and what further investments are needed to maintain growth and momentum. Based on a survey of technology industry workers in the North of England the report, Manchester: A Connected Future, is now available to industry experts.  

Northern tech professionals have high confidence in the local economy, with the local talent pool, the city’s industrial heritage, and its commercial real estate prices all cited as key factors in what makes Manchester an attractive tech hub (69%, 65%, and 58% respectively).

However, nearly two in five respondents believe that improved internet connectivity would make Manchester a more attractive city to UK-based tech companies. In fact, one in 10 of those surveyed fear poor connectivity could damage the city’s reputation by discouraging Manchester-based entrepreneurs. A further 10 percent believe that current connectivity levels give a poor impression of the city to potential investors, and could put off businesses from operating in Manchester.

Connectivity is crucial to digital businesses and it’s no secret that UK companies need faster, more reliable, more affordable internet to grow. It’s essential that the public and private ensure that the necessary investments are being made to ensure that no company’s success is hindered by poor connectivity.

The commercial real estate industry has a critical role to play in rebuffing any myths around poor connectivity in Manchester. Both through marketing the great investments they’ve made to ensure their buildings are digital beacons of best practice, and through making the necessary changes to help them meet the demands of the modern business.

This is a challenge echoed by the tech community, with a third of northern tech workers advocating that more businesses will be attracted to the city if landlords were able to offer improved connectivity.

Commenting on WiredScore’s report, Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said:

"Over the past 40 years, I’ve witnessed a dramatic change in Manchester’s local economy – but today, the city is on the verge of assuming its potential as a global leader in the digital economy. To achieve this, both the public and private sector must work together to ensure that every Mancunian business has the opportunity and resources to reach its potential – and connectivity has undoubtedly become a crucial element of this.

“That’s why I am delighted that WiredScore is now supporting Manchester’s property community in improving its underlying connectivity infrastructure to enable future business growth.”

Download Manchester: A Connected Future to access the full findings in the report and more insights from Manchester’s tech influencers.

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