A large number of technology firms have opened up shop in Manchester, as the centre of the developing ‘Northern Powerhouse’ starts to give London a run for its money.

Enterprise City, the
technology cluster in central Manchester, UK has been awarded a £2m
grant from the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and
Sport (DCMS) to support its Exchange programme. The money will be
used to support and attract more cloud service, cybersecurity and
edge technology firms to the area.

Last year, for
instance, US cloud and IT consulting services firm Slalom chose
Manchester as the location for its second UK office after London.
Partnering with over 200 solution providers including Amazon Web
Services, Google Cloud, Salesforce, Microsoft and Tableau, Slalom
helps companies tackle digital transformation.

Slalom plans to employ
over 200 people in Manchester by 2025. “Manchester is a city of
digital enterprise with strengths in a wide range of industries,
including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and consumer services,
which perfectly complements Slalom’s breadth of expertise,” said
Dave Williams, Slalom UK country managing director at the time.

Manchester wants more
such firms to enter its designated Enterprise City. The new central
government funding, which will be managed by Manchester City Council
(MCC) on behalf of DCMS, will be used to help create and sustain over
2,000 jobs in the city over the next 15 years.

Exchange, a new
business support programme, based within Enterprise City’s 2m sq ft
commercial district, will give “ambitious, early stage tech
companies and entrepreneurs access to the tools and infrastructure
they need to grow and succeed”, said Enterprise City.

Exchange will be based
on the second and third floors of Bonded Warehouse, the oldest
building in the Enterprise City district. It will initially support
more than 15 businesses within its first cohort over a 6-12-month
period. Applications for this have now closed, and the programme’s
first wave of businesses will be announced later this month.

Entries for Exchange’s
second cohort will open in August 2020, giving new organisations the
opportunity to apply. New cohort call-outs for the scheme will run
every six months, as the scheme pledges to offer on-going support to
the growing tech ecosystem in Manchester and the North of England.

Tanya Grady, head of
partnerships at Enterprise City, said: “Exchange is a unique
programme that adds genuine value to the city and its booming tech
and digital sector. We would not be able to deliver this level of
comprehensive training and coaching without the funding from MCC and
DCMS, which will create more than 2,000 jobs in the city.”

She said: “Enterprise
City’s vision, to create a home for startups through to global tech
businesses, has received a significant boost thanks to the funding,
which will allow us to work with, and foster, a community of
like-minded entrepreneurs.”

The Exchange programme
will be delivered in collaboration with its knowledge partner Tech
Nation, the UK national network for technology entrepreneurs.

Sir Richard Leese,
leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The growth in Manchester
digital and tech startups has been remarkable over the last decade
and has set the mood for the city’s economic direction. As the
largest tech hub outside London, the city has become renowned as a
place where SME entrepreneurs are supported to incubate their
business, grow and collaborate with major players and investors.”

He added: “The DCMS
funding has helped to refurbish a priceless heritage asset in the
Bonded Warehouse at the heart of Enterprise City, creating a stunning
example of how we should celebrate our city’s heritage to help
create the conditions of our future growth. Our aim is to be a
leading European digital city.”

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