Poppy Marello - MIDAS

Blog Archives

MAN Diesel’s Wayne Jones Awarded OBE for Services to the North West

Manchester-born Wayne Jones has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list following his work at the MAN Diesel and Turbo Training Academy in Hazel Grove.

Wayne, who is now an Executive Board Member of MAN Diesel and Turbo SE, admitted it was a “surprise” to find out he had been awarded an OBE.

He received the award for services to the North West and supporting young people into apprenticeships at the MAN Diesel Training Academy in Hazel Grove.

“It was a complete surprise; the first I knew was when I received a letter in October. Nick Clegg visited our Hazel Grove site in 2014 and was keen to learn about apprenticeships and our Training Academy, so maybe he had something to do with it.”

“Around 500 people aged 12-19 have been through our Academy, ranging from a few hours learning about CVs and interview techniques to a two-week work experience programme.”

MAN Diesel and Turbo is the world market leader for large diesel engines for use in ships and power stations. The company took on 10 apprentices in 2015 and Wayne believe they have an important role to play.

“Young people are hugely important to the future of engineering but it is proving difficult to attract them to our industry.

“Many people are unaware that there is a strong growth in engineering and manufacturing, especially in the North West, but if we are not able to develop the engineers of tomorrow, there will be a huge skills shortage,” he added.

Wayne, who is also the President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, became the first Briton to be appointed to the Board of MAN Diesel & Turbo SE, the oldest industrial company in Germany.

“Far too many go straight to University and don’t consider an apprenticeship and, like many other sectors, we have a great imbalance.

“There are great and varied opportunities in engineering for a rewarding career and we need young minds to drive and influence the future,” said Wayne.

Wayne will be invited to London to receive his OBE before the summer.

Business Angels Invest £2.8m in North West Enterprises

804Over the last 12 months, around £2.8 million has been ploughed into 19 North West businesses through the Business Growth Hub’s North West Business Angels.

Forming part of the Manchester Growth Company, The Business Growth Hub uses the programme to find angel investors for the region’s promising small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

In 2014, the organisation helped 74 companies through the pitching process, with 19 of these companies going on to secure investment.

Philip Hargreaves, the Business Growth Hub’s access to finance manager, said: “The success of the North West Business Angel network highlights the appetite for a variety of finance options from firms here in Greater Manchester and the wider North West.

“Our programme gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to investors, in addition to providing them with detailed business planning and financial modelling to prepare them for investment.“

He added: “An angel backer provides a company with a real opportunity to learn from an experienced businessperson, opening up new avenues and contacts, as well as securing the capital required to grow.“

North West property developer 10ACIA was one firm to receive backing from the NWBA in 2015. The firm, which operates across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, received a £500k boost that allowed it to deliver new projects.

Founder of 10ACIA, David Price said; “The NWBA and Business Growth Hub have played a pivotal role in pushing my business forward.

“They laid out a very simple path in front of us, allowing us to fund a number of projects simultaneously. They have already set the business up for a period of sustainable growth.”

The firm is now looking to secure further angel investment to allow it to sign on new contracts.

The NWBA network is made up of over 300 individuals seeking to invest in North West SMEs, providing anything between £10,000 and £500k to support business growth in the region.

Kieran Quinn, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s head of investment strategy and finance, said: “It’s great to see the growth of small to medium enterprises as a result of working alongside the business angels and I look forward to seeing many more success stories in the future.“

MIDAS at unBound

On Monday 30 November and Tuesday 1 December, Manchester Growth Company will be attending unBound in London, one of the UK’s most exciting innovation festivals. MIDAS, Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency, Business Growth Hub and Business Finance Solutions will be joined by a selection of Manchester’s exciting fast-growth companies and start-ups. The delegation will be attending the event to promote Manchester as a thriving business destination for companies to grow.

Themed around open innovation and the future of digital, the two day festival connects brands and global corporations. This is the place where entrepreneurs, influencers and corporate leaders meet.

Manchester will have a presence in the Start-up Bazaar and the start-up and growth companies will showcase their innovative ideas during Manchester pitching session taking place on the workshops stage at 11am on Tuesday 1st December.

Included in the delegation:

AppLearn –  an on-demand application learning tool, which has become a ‘reach and teach’ solution to provide a blended learning approach to users, embedded directly into businesses’ HR talent tools.

Bearded Fellows – a creative studio for animation and video production. Bearded Fellows work with existing companies to deliver content for their target audience, as well as advising companies on their content strategy and production.

Bright Future – is a large scale software development house which creates bespoke software for various organisations. It employs and develops young talent straight from school, and trains them in coding and all aspects of digital media.

eLucid mHealth – a med-tech company which builds propriety medication adherence solutions. eLucid’s electronic bottle technology can be applied in healthcare markets estimated to be worth $290 billion.They have developed wireless devices: the electronic bottle and the electronic Clip. The technology allows the tracking of each single tablet in real time to deliver improved adherence to patients.

Gnatta  – A Tech North Northern Star winner, Gnatta allows businesses of all sizes to listen and engage with their customers on an individual basis via one single interface.

Peak  – A Tech North Northern Star winner, Peak is a data analytics and intelligence company with a simple mission; to give their clients competitive edge using data and analytics.

WebVM – a specialist online video marketing agency working across b2b, b2c and business 2 employee marketing communications. They create high quality business video content, and then distribute it on behalf of clients to target audiences, with advanced tracking and reporting.

Multi Channel Software Platform Gnatta wins Northern Stars

Multi channel interface Gnatta is proud to announce themselves as one of the ten winners in this year’s Northern Stars event. Up against 23 finalists, Gnatta pitched against some of the North’s best digital startup talent to come out victorious. Gnatta brings customer voices from all over the digital map, to ensure you get the full picture. Their innovative developments helped them win a Northern Stars title on 24th November.

As a Tech North initiative, Northern Stars aims to support digital founders by bringing their talent together and showcasing it across regional, national and international platforms.

Gnatta’s founder and CEO, Jack Barmby, attended the Grand Final at the UKFast offices in Manchester, where he presented a 3 minute timed pitch summarising Gnatta to a prestigious expert panel from businesses like TechCrunch, Seedcamp, Bloomberg, Startupbootcamp and UKFast! Throughout the pitch, Gnatta gained much interest on Social Media, being cited as “Changing disgruntled users to happy ones with Gnatta – 3 years old, 5 million convos PCM, 1 million annual revenue” and  “Collating social media & data to analyse your customer engagement optimise B2C communications.”

As well as being named one of the winning startups in the North, Gnatta also wins a place at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt in London, SXSW festival in Austin, Texas and a chance to pitch to potential investors at a Bloomberg event. At only 3 years old, Gnatta is well on their way to cementing themselves as the number one solution for B2B communications, now representing themselves at global events.

CEO Jack Barmby commented “We are so excited to be one of the winner’s of the 2015 Northern Stars. It’s so inspiring seeing so many businesses thrive in the North and this is just a further endorsement of all the work we do to help businesses improve their ability to communicate with consumers at scale across multiple platforms. Thank you Northern Stars!”


Gnatta allows businesses of all sizes to listen and engage with their customers on an individual basis via one single interface. Enabling customer services to be handled at scale, Gnatta ensures operators can be agnostic towards communication channels, reacting to tweets, Facebook messages, SMS messages, email, marketplace and review sites without the need of deep channel knowledge. Gnatta also provides a comprehensive suite of analytics giving users a greater understanding of what their customers are saying about them. If you would like more information about Gnatta, please contact Jack Barmby, CEO jack@gnatta.com or by telephone (07775967300). Or for any press enquires, contact elena@gnatta.com or by telephone (07928671011)

Sign up and get to know us!

Manimation 2015 Round-up


MIDAS, Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency, and The Children’s Media Conference, the UK’s premier organisation for the children’s content industries, once again teamed up to bring the Manimation event, on Thursday 19 November.

The Manimation 2015 event at Manchester’s brand new creative space, HOME was attended by over 70 likeminded professionals from across the animation world.

The day kicked off with a keynote from the BBC’s Director of Children’s, Alice Webb, who made a special announcement about ANIM8 – a brand new animation pilot scheme from CBBC and BBC Worldwide. ANIM8 is an open call to find the next generation of UK-based animators, who will be able to pitch for funded development.

The first showcase of the day came from Pixelbomb Games, an indie games developer based in Manchester who have created a game entirely set in Manchester.

The opening panel followed, moderated by Steve Sharman from Hackthorn Innovation featured a discussion on how technology does, and doesn’t support the work of storytellers.

The second showcase began with up-to-date academic research on the viewing habits of young people, from Professor Jackie Marsh, an expert in children and digital literacy from the University of Sheffield.

Next came a short keynote from Neil Court, Executive Chairman of 9 Story Media Group, which recently acquired Manchester-based, Brown Bag Films. Neil, one of the industry’s most successful entrepreneurs with 28 years’ experience, spoke about the impact that subscription channels such as Netflix have on children’s content.

‘Free Money? Fund and Flow’ was the final panel session to take place before delegates broke for lunch. The panel explored new commissioning and fundraising strategies to develop IP and monetise content.

Refuelled and ready, delegates were treated to a short clip from Jonathan Ashworth from Mighty Giant. The brains behind Motion North, the collective gathering for designers, animators, filmmakers and vfx artists presented the ‘Manimation Showreel’ which highlighted the very best of Manchester animation and motion design.

The final panel of the day explored the area of recruitment in the animation industry, with a special emphasis on schools, pre-Higher Education and apprenticeships.

The penultimate showcase followed shortly, and came from David Barton of Cubic Motion – another Manchester-based company – and delved into the highly technical process of turning an actor’s real-life performance into an animation.

Delegates were then given an insight into the world of the famous ‘Clangers’, and the difficult process of remaking the classic for a modern-day audience. The showcase was led by Mole Hill, Co-Director of the ‘new’ Clangers, as he discussed the steps required to bring back an old classic.

The final keynote of the day came from David Brown, Traveller’s Tales; and Ian Liddell, Studio Liddell, as they led the audience into the LEGO Jurassic World, and explained how two local studios collaborated to animate one of the biggest video games of the year.

After a closing address by host, Greg Childs, a number of delegates took part in a number of one-to-one meetings with key speakers, to discuss all things animation.

Delegates were then invited to a Manimation Masterclass headed by the Executive Producer of ‘Thunderbirds are Go!’, Giles Ridge. The masterclass delved into the ITV remake of ‘Thunderbirds’, and how the iconic classic was updated for a modern audience.

Finally, delegates headed off to a well-deserved drinks reception in the heart of HOME, to round off a very successful Manimation 2015.

Contact Us

Contact us online or call
+44 (0) 161 237 4470