The North West is rapidly expanding and is on the verge of becoming a leading tech hub in the UK; welcoming nine of the UK’s tech unicorns; receiving $975 million (£821) in venture capital investment; a consequential increase of 43.7 per cent compared to the $549 million (£462) received in 2020; employing more than 220,000 in the industry and attracting many more tech talents.
Made Smarter, backed by the UK government and leading businesses received £6.1 million in funding to help Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) start their digital journey allowing the region to create 1,250 new job opportunities, and 2,500 jobs to be converted into the new digital environment as well as delivering another £176 million for the region’s gross value.
The UK is diversifying very quickly and other regions other than London are starting to receive funding to develop their tech ecosystem, which is great news to reduce the existing north-south divide and boost the tech sector in the whole of the UK.
For instance, Manchester is gaining more and more traction, named in 2019 Europe’s fastest-growing tech hub followed closely by Liverpool, Lancaster and Cumbria which is highly contributing to the sector’s development.
The sector is gaining traction firstly thanks to its high concentration of universities in the region which enables the reduction in the educational divide.
Moreover, different industries within the tech sector have enabled the North West to boom in recent years by staying up to date with technological innovation and disruption.
‘The Nort West is taking advantage of the technological advancements that have occurred in the region over the centuries to create an exciting future for itself’, stated Naomi Timperley, co-founder of Tech North Advocates.
The North West has embraced the digital and media industry by creating great innovative startups such as MediaCityUK which welcome the biggest media companies like the BBC, ITV Studios and Warner Bros.
The North West has also importantly expanded into online fashion and e-commerce creating fashion giants like Boohoo.com and Pretty Little Thing as well as The Hut Group which is based in Manchester and had an initial public offering (IPO) of £1.8 billion in 2020 the largest IPO since 2013.
The thriving industries in Manchester and in the North West region as a whole are becoming so attractive that numerous tech-related jobs are being created such as app developers, digital marketers, User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) experts and payments specialists.
Are we going to witness the North west surge, surpassing other regions as the leading tech hub in the UK with the increased funding going to the region as well as a growing number of universities and the emergence of digital industries?
(Sources: UKTN, Salford City Council)