Digital Cities || Manchester
Last year Greater Manchester lay down its desires to become the UK’s leader in Tech, to lead the UK regarding innovation where technology can deliver the previously unachievable and, encouraging businesses to invest and grow in the city.
The third largest city in the UK is no stranger to tech innovation, their dedication to this area of industry can be seen everywhere, from tourism to their many buzzing startup hubs; Manchester Digital began their non-for-profit independent trade organisation in 2001, that’s 18 years ago, and a lot has changed in the city since then! An impressive amount of drive has been continuously applied to grow the city as a digital leader. One year ago this month, June 2017, the Mayor of Manchester held a summit with the purpose of setting the wheels in motion for the city’s digital transformation and development; which informed an updated version of the city’s ‘Digital Strategy’.
Sparta Digital have created the ‘Buzzin’ app as part of the CityVerve project, this app and walking tour showcase the amazing digital history that the city of Manchester has to offer in an ingeniously digital way. The downloadable app allows users to get interactive with the dedicated plaques which are placed around the city to guide the tour and grant access to insights, facts and the opportunity to ‘walk the city of firsts’ with the use of augmented reality – neat! It’s developments like these that keep Manchester in the Top 20 European Digital Cities – number 16 to be exact!
In May 2018, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham launched an incubator to grow the city’s digital economy. It’s hoped that, over the next ten years, the £2million project will be able to provide up to 2,000 new jobs, in addition to the current 60,000 that it homes, in the city’s digital industry, worth over £3 billion as of 2017.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s ‘Our People Our Place’ Greater Manchester Strategy also has plans to create a more connected city region. ‘We want to be a really well-connected city, both digitally and in real life’; with this in mind, they have pledged to secure Superfast Broadband across the city, putting them in a strong position both for welcoming 5G and in their plan to become one of the ‘top five European digital-regions‘.
The city is also host to one of the Google Digital Garage projects; a storefront open to all individuals, businesses, entrepreneurs, startups and side hustlers who are looking to learn more about building their own website, social media, business strategies and even coding. A wonderful project to have available in the city of Manchester .
Is Manchester Feeling The Effects of Brexit?
Businesses across most sectors have concerns over the impact which Brexit could impose on their staffing, custom and business overall; is this felt across Manchester’s Digital landscape? Manchester Digital published results of their Annual Digital Skills Audit for 2018, which showed that 48% of companies felt their customers have been delaying work or that they have seen a slow-down in orders since the UK voted to leave the EU. Also, although this concern is not confined to Greater Manchester, 56% of Greater Manchester businesses in the 2018 Digital Skills Audit have shown a fear that they may lose key staff members as a result of changing EU workers’ rights.
In preparation for the future of their digital city, Manchester recognises that there needs to be fresh talent and minds coming through their education and into the workplace consistently, and that the digital industry, therefore, needs to be actively involved in education. Knowing this, Manchester Digital have developed their ‘Digital Futures’ project which provides support to girls and underrepresented groups in digital and tech!
Discover more about the digital initiatives and events going on in Manchester with these helpful links: