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Tech is great CitylabsA high-level delegation from Manchester, including council leader Sir Richard Leese, is travelling to the US this week to profile the region as the UK’s IoT Smart Cities demonstrator. The aim of the roadshow is to facilitate trade, investment, joint venture and R&D collaborations.

The US roadshow will explore how Manchester is creating a blueprint for smart cities worldwide. It will start in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest Interactive, (10-15 March), which is renowned as one of the world’s leading tech conferences, and finish with an event in New York on 16 March.

The public-private partnership showcasing the region includes Jacobs Engineering, which focuses on smart cities infrastructure and better connected transport solutions, and Manchester Science Partnerships, the HQ of the CityVerve Project consortium driving the UK’s smart city agenda. The University of Manchester will also be profiling its interdisciplinary Manchester Urban Institute which generates world-class research from across the arts and humanities, the social sciences, business and health. The delegation is led by MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, and part of the Manchester Growth Company, whose aim is to promote the region as a global destination for innovation and investment.

Sir Richard Leese said: “Smart cities are harnessing new technologies to improve the lives of their citizens and Manchester is determined to be in the forefront of this revolution. This event is an important showcase for the work we are doing and another opportunity to spread the message on a global stage that we are a forward-looking city and a great place to invest.”

Manchester has been creating the future for over 250 years. Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and home to the first stored program computer, we’ve never stopped innovating. The region is now recognised as the UK’s second largest creative, digital and tech cluster, as well as a top 20 European digital city. This, combined with a long history of strong, stable local governance, proven public-private partnerships and the right ecosystem, makes the region the perfect test bed for smart city initiatives.

Ross Powell, Director of Operations, Jacobs Engineering, said: “We are looking at connecting new technologies to enhance the performance and longevity of existing and new infrastructure assets for local, national and international clients.  Manchester’s challenges and opportunities are replicated across the globe so maximising the value of the creative, digital and technical cluster is fundamental to ensuring our continued success in the engineering and professional services space.

“SXSW gives us a fantastic opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs, start-ups, academia and other city regions, and look for opportunities to solve our client’s challenges to make our cities more successful and prosperous places to live and work.”

Over 54,000 people work in creative and tech companies in Manchester’s thriving community which includes start-ups and homegrown companies such as AO.com, Boohoo.com and the BBC. The US is Manchester’s number one country for foreign direct investment and 104 US-owned companies call the city region home, including Google and IBM.

Tim Newns, Chief Executive Officer, MIDAS, said: “Manchester’s significant creative, digital and tech industry is the second largest in the UK and presents significant opportunities for international markets like the US. This sector alone contributes £3.1 billion GVA annually and in 2016, over 1,600 tech start-ups formed in the city region, residing in our vibrant tech hubs such as MediaCityUK, the Northern Quarter, The Sharp Project, MSP and St Johns.

“As the UK’s IoT demonstrator city, it is important for us to connect with other leading cities in that field at this year’s SXSW. In our ambition to become a truly global digital city, the launch of the direct flight route to San Francisco later this month also provides us with more opportunities to connect with tech leaders in the US. Already operating over 100 weekly flights to US cities including New York, Atlanta and Houston, Manchester is within easy reach of US companies looking to expand into the UK.”

- ENDS -

The United States delegation will be in the US from 10 – 17 March. It includes Sir Richard Leese, Leader, Manchester City Council; Phil Swan, Programme Co-ordination Director, CityVerve and Greater Manchester-Connect; Ross Powell, Director of Operations and Kirk Rabius, Director, Strategic Asset Management Strategies, Jacobs Engineering; Rowena Burns, CEO, Manchester Science Partnerships and Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation & Partnerships, Manchester Science Partnerships; Rachel Kenyon, Business Engagement Officer and Rosie Haynes, International Project Officer, The University of Manchester; Martha Sama, Head of Business Development – Creative, Digital and Tech and Emma Cheshire, Strategic Advisor – Tech and Innovation, MIDAS.

Notes to editors

Manchester is the UK’s IoT Smart Cities Demonstrator. Supported by the UK government, CityVerve is an ambitious project that aims to create a blueprint for smart cities globally and positions Manchester at the forefront of IoT technologies to redefine ‘smart’ in the context of a living, working city.


Manchester top fintech cityAlthough London still dominates the UK FinTech (“Financial Technology”) sector, cities such as Manchester are staking claims to become UK FinTech hubs, according to FinTech Global.

As the UK’s third largest financial centre, it is no surprise that Manchester is establishing itself as a FinTech hub that can attract investments into early-stage companies. Research from FinTech Global, a data and analytics company, shows that Manchester is the top city outside London for FinTech investments.

Manchester leads the city rankings

Manchester, Cambridge and Edinburgh are building track records that enable them to claim to be up-and-coming FinTech hubs. Of the 107 FinTech investments made outside London between 2014 and 2016, the locations that saw the most deals were Manchester (13 deals), Cambridge (12) and Edinburgh (7).

Amongst the most notable FinTech deals in Manchester were the following:

  • Market Invoice, an online invoice factoring company, which raised over £23.5m from Northzone, MCI Capital and the British Business Bank over the last three years.
  • Due Course, also an online invoice factoring company, which raised over £6m from Global Founders Fund and angel investors in 2016.
  • Beyond Comparison, a provider of white-label comparison software, which raised £200,000 from Maven Capital Partners in 2016.

Overall UK FinTech investments decreased by just over 15% last year…

The progress made by these three cities is against a backdrop of a decline in overall investments in private UK FinTech companies of 15.4% last year from £1,113m in 2015 to £941m in 2016.  The apparent slowdown has been attributed by many to concerns in the second half of the year relating to Brexit. Regardless, the figure should be compared to the total of £622m in 2014, which shows that 2016 was still, relatively, a very strong year for UK FinTech.

Investments in FinTech companies based outside London have increased slightly from £157m in 38 deals to £168m in 36 deals, over three years, and made up 17.9% of the total for the UK in 2016. This is a drop from the 25.2% share taken in 2014 but a slight increase on the 15.7% share in 2015.

but UK regions are attracting more earlier-stage FinTech capital

A closer look at the numbers reveals some more encouraging signs. If investments over £10m are excluded from the non-London data, the analysis shows that £34.5m was invested in 2014, £44.9m in 2015 and £67.9m in 2016.  That’s almost a doubling of sub-£10m investments over three years, which clearly shows healthy growth for the early-stage FinTech companies in cities outside London.

The importance of the growth in early-stage investments cannot be understated: any city that needs wants to build a sustainable FinTech ecosystem must be able to support its entrepreneurs throughout the set-up and growth stages of their companies and offer enable them to resist the feeling they need to migrate to London.

Manchester is a natural developer of creative, digital and tech talent

University_of_Salford_MediaCityUK_StudiosManchester’s educational institutions provide the city with a world-class learning hub. The University of Salford has a campus embedded within MediaCityUK, Europe’s largest purpose-built creative hub, with over 1,000 students enrolled in creative and media courses, training alongside industry leading talent and facilities. Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Bolton also offer first-class courses in animation, computer games technology, games design, development and programming.

Employer-led initiatives include the Manchester Creative Studio, a creative and media school, MediaCityUK’s University Technical College which specialises in technical and media skills. The BBC Academy, offers a number of apprenticeships and traineeships in a range of areas including broadcast technology and Make it Digital.

Manchester’s four leading universities also offer research support for TV programmes and access to subject specialists and on-screen historians such as Brian Cox or the Nobel Laurates who are based here.

Manchester will be at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) between 12th – 15th March. Meet us at stand 1235.

Manchester UK – a home for broadcasters and media producers

BBC-North-interiorWhen the BBC relocated 2,000 programme makers and journalists to MediaCityUK, Europe’s largest purpose-built creative hub and home of the BBC, it was a catalyst to reaffirm Manchester’s dynamic, production industry. Broadcaster ITV is now also co-located at the hub, having moved its entire workforce and studios. From here, it continues to film and produce the nation’s treasured and longest running soap opera, Coronation Street.

Manchester’s reputation as a creative powerhouse knows no bounds. The city is a major centre of excellence for content production including TV, radio, and film, and has the largest number of children’s programme commissioners outside London, adding a rich flavour to its diverse creative sector.

Manchester has been producing some of the finest animated content for over 40 years and its portfolio includes Danger Mouse by BAFTA winning animators Cosgrove Hall, who also produced the globally acclaimed Count Duckula and Wind in the Willows.

With over 800 companies in Manchester’s broadcast and media production sector, it’s easy to understand whysome of the world’s most highly acclaimed talent have grown within the city, working for companies such as Mackinnon & Saunders, Factory, Studio Liddell, Brown Bag Films, TT Games, Nine Lives Media and Cloud Imperium. Their work is truly international and they produce content for the likes of Disney, Nickleodeon, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Lego, the BBC and Sony.

The city is also home to world-class companies working across post-production, visual effects, SPX, motion capture, augmented reality, gaming, app development and digital design. Integrated agencies like McCann Manchester, WRG, BJL and Love Creative, have also been seduced by Manchester’s cosmopolitan appeal, with 15 of the top 50 North West agencies located within the city’s scalable walls.

Manchester will be at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) between 12th – 15th March. Meet us at stand 1235.


small_Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan and Sir Richard Leese Leese - CopyManchester will welcome the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr Koji Tsuruoka to the city on Tuesday 21st February. The visit aims to celebrate the region’s relationship with Japan, whilst showcasing Greater Manchester as an investment and business destination for Japanese investors, especially in the areas science, innovation, infrastructure and transport.

Japan is an important partner to the UK, with a tradition of cooperation between the two spanning 150 years. Japanese investment into the UK has helped to create over 140,000 jobs.

Japan is crucial to the UK’s future in a post-Brexit world and their expertise in areas such as infrastructure and technology, will help Greater Manchester to drive the next generation of innovation. As such, Japan has been identified as an opportunity market in the region’s Internationalisation Strategy and offers a clear growth potential for trade, investment and R&D.

The visit, has been coordinated by MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency (part of Manchester Growth Company), in conjunction with the Embassy of Japan, and supported by BDP.

During the visit, His Excellency will meet Manchester’s Lord Mayor as well as attending meetings with key business representatives. The Ambassador of Japan will visit Corridor Manchester and meet representatives from Health Innovation Manchester and The University of Manchester, before ending the day at The National Graphene Institute.

The Ambassador will give a special address at Central Library as part of a business lunch that will be attended by local businesses.  Speakers at the event include Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Takayasu Tsuyusaki, managing executive officer, Nippon Koei – BDP, who will be flying over from Japan to attend the event, and Professor Martin Gibson, chief executive officer, NorthWest EHealth. Chris Kennedy, chief financial officer, ARM Holdings and Phil Jones, managing director of Brother, will also be speaking.

Mr Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan, said: “I am very grateful for the warm welcome I have received from Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester. Our two countries have an excellent track record in innovation and creativity and I believe that, inspired by our common values, we can continue to contribute to the global community in this regard.”

“We are greatly honored that Greater Manchester has just designated Japan as one of its international priority partners.  You can be assured that our Embassy is always happy to support links between this region and Japan.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It’s an honour to welcome the Embassy of Japan and the visit sets the scene for further collaboration with Japan.

“The region is already benefiting from collaborative partnerships with Japan. This can be seen through the work that Hitachi is doing here around big data that leverages the expertise of NorthWest EHealth, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and Salford Royal NHS Trust. The partnership is already improving patient care in Greater Manchester and in time, it will have an impact across the NHS and the rest of the UK.

Mr Tsuyusaki, Managing Executive Officer, Nippon Koei – BDP, said: “As a listed Japanese company we were delighted to acquire BDP in April 2016. Our shared values and synergies, together with our complementary geographical footprints and technical skills, mean we are working collaboratively to win and deliver integrated design solutions across international markets.

“We have a vision to be the world’s leading integrated architecture, design and engineering firm delivering world class design solutions which enhance the communities they serve. BDP’s roots in England’s Northwest means we are particularly delighted to be in Manchester today, to provide some insights into our thinking around the strength of UK businesses, as seen from the perspective of Japanese investors.

“We are also excited to hear more from the City’s leaders about their ambitious plans for further economic growth and the importance of investment in infrastructure, such as Manchester’s remodelled Victoria Station and the Ordsall Chord rail link, both projects for which BDP is the design lead, and we are keen to understand how Nippon Koei – BDP might play our part in the continuing success of Manchester and the future of the Northern Powerhouse.”

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