Can Manchester become the Next Silicon Valley?


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Property investment is on the rise in Manchester and more technology businesses are setting up in the city than ever before, causing many to call it the next Silicon Valley.

Manchester Office: Market Spotlight, a report from Savills, has revealed that take-up of office space in the city has experienced a 20% increase, with experts predicting a significant increase in employment opportunities over the next five years.

This growth is attributable to the Northern Powerhouse initiative, which supports expansion in the tech industry and other sectors across the city.

Properties of the World CEO Jean Liggett predicted that Manchester has a very real potential of becoming the next Silicon Valley. The city is already home to almost 52,000 people employed in the tech industry, representing the largest tech workforce outside of London.

Mayor Andy Burnham has committed to creating a world-class tech hub in the city, and an increasing number of tech startups are already renting offices across the city. 40% of enquiries for business office space are coming from this industry.

Manchester’s potential for digital growth is set to be further strengthened by the major BBC expansion. 200 new employees will join MediaCityUK this year and mobile software company 42Gears is setting up a European base in the centre of Manchester.

Jean Liggett said that Manchester’s bright economic outlook has made interest in the city stronger and stronger. According to Savills, Manchester will be one of the top five fastest growing cities until 2021.

Consequently, landlords are buying properties to accommodate the influx of tech professionals seeking to cash in on a cost of living that’s nearly 30% less expensive than London.

Other reasons why tech workers are eyeing Manchester include:

  • Vibrant social scene that supports a healthy work-life balance.
  • A large local network that provides collaboration opportunities for tech professionals, thanks to supporting organisations such as Tech North, Rise, SpacePortX, MadLab, MIDAS, and the Business Growth Hub.
  • Good transportation options that include a comprehensive bus and tram system as well as proximity for both Manchester and Liverpool Airports.
  • Easy connection to other entrepreneurs and organisations at the different tech startup events hosted by the city. These include Smarter Business Tech LIVE, IP EXPO Manchester and  the Insight Technology Conference.
  • Modern and affordable offices for startups to expand their digital ventures. The IT infrastructure is also constantly evolving. UKFast recently invested £2.3 million to add to its data centre complex.
  • Low cost of living compared to nearby cities, allowing tech entrepreneurs to enjoy city living without the huge expense.
  • A variety of government initiatives that support local entrepreneurship. In 2011, for example, Enterprise Zones were established to stimulate business growth in certain areas. Companies that populated them enjoyed discounted rates and other benefits for up to five years.
  • Co-working spaces that enable cash-strapped entrepreneurs and startups to develop their businesses without having to invest in a private office first.
  • Easy business application and tax benefits for startups. It costs only £15 to register a company and the UK’s corporate income tax is one of the lowest in the world.

With so many positives attracting tech companies and skilled workers to the city, it’s clear to see that investment and growth in Manchester and the surrounding areas is on an upward curve.

About Living Smart

At Living Smart we help investors achieve better returns on their capital through investment in lucrative property development projects. Our expertise lies in identifying opportunities, securing and maximising the correct planning consent and determining the best exit.

We are flexible in our approach and tailor our investment packages to the individual needs of investors. Please contact us for a free 30-minute consultation and the opportunity to meet us and take a tour of our current and completed projects.

About The Author

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Ben Thorns

With a diverse background in digital marketing, property development, sales, and customer relationship management Ben handles recruitment, sourcing, sales, and lettings at Living Smart.

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