Manchester: The UK's New Tech Capital

Manchester. England’s second city. Cottonopolis.

For hundreds of years Manchester has been a driving force for the UK. With its undeniable hand in the birth of the industrial revolution, its contributions to the world’s music landscape, and even the popularisation of vegetarianism, Manchester has been instrumental to the forward momentum of the country. 

You’ve probably heard of the first electronic stored-programme computer, known as Baby. Maybe you’ve even heard of J J Thomson, who discovered the electron, or Ernest Rutherford, who first split the atom in 1917. You’ve certainly heard of Rolls Royce. But did you know they all have one thing in common? That’s right; Manchester.

The city is steeped in innovation, in a drive for change. And its tech scene is no different. 

Over the past decade, Manchester universities have begun developing a reputation for strong engineering and tech courses. In 2021, just under 15,000 students enrolled in technology related courses, apprenticeships, and training programmes. 

It’s no wonder there were 891 tech investment deals between 2011 and 2020 alone.

So what exactly does Manchester have to offer?

Besides the flow of bright young individuals ready to take on the world, and a history of being at the forefront, there’s also a significant amount of funding available. 

The Northern Triangle (being Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield) is home to nearly 1,500 startups and scaleups, which raised 32% of all venture capital flowing into the UK’s tech industry since 2017.  Recent research revealed these companies were able to raise £1.3 billion in external funding over the past 5 years. That’s not even taking into account the £743 million UK cash injection announced recently by the government. 

Manchester companies were actually found to advertise the highest average salaries within the tech sector, falling at around £53,000. With a 30-40% lower operating cost than London, and 86,000 current employees within the creative, digital, and technology sectors, it’s no wonder the newest generations are turning their heads away from the rising costs of London and towards the growing tech-sector of the North. 

As of April 2022, the Northern Triangle is home to seven unicorns and five futurecorns, including e-commerce giant The Hut Group, credit reporting platform TransUnion, and deep tech manufacturing company ITM Power. 

Manchester was named the UK’s Top Digital Tech City in the past couple of years, and it’s no wonder. With a £5 billion and counting digital ecosystem, the future looks bright - not only for Manchester, but all of the North.