Manchester: the city to scale

The City to Scale

  1. Manchester is a magnet for rapid-growth businesses, resulting in the development of a mature scale-up ecosystem that helps firms drive productivity and profitability. Manchester boasts five unicorns (the same number as Paris and Amsterdam) that have scaled in the city including Boohoo, AO and THG; which recently secured the UK’s largest IPO in five years after raising £1.88 billion, taking its valuation to £6 billion.

    Whether your company employs 20 or 200 people, Manchester has a wealth of talent as well as commercial and funding opportunities to help you scale your business effectively and efficiently.

    With up to 40% lower operating costs than the capital and boasting a truly collaborative ecosystem, Manchester is the ideal base for SMEs to scale across the UK, Europe and the world.

  2. Top 10 Global Emerging Centre for Start-ups

    Startup Genome, 2020

  3. The scale-up support available in Manchester cannot be matched anywhere else in the UK – helping small-medium sized firms expand and strengthen their teams, launch new products and services, and increase the bottom line.

    MIDAS, Manchester’s economic development agency, provides a range of free, confidential and bespoke services to help international SMEs establish operations in the city.

    Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you establish a foothold in Manchester, the city to scale >>

  4. The way the ecosystem has developed over the last few years, it’s drawn a credible workforce both in terms of experience and skills. Having spent several years running a business in Manchester, I think it’s a great community and the proof is in the fact that in those years we have grown significantly.

    Kevin Mountford – Raisin

  5. Evolutionary Environment

    The UK is a strong and stable environment to invest and scale, and Manchester is a top five European city for business friendliness, making it easy to do business.

    No matter what industry or field your company operates in, Manchester has the expertise to help you thrive. The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and the first stored-program computer, Manchester continues to innovate across a variety of sectors.

    In 2020, a world-first AI study found that Manchester outperforms all other major UK cities in the fields of AI and data, advanced materials, cyber security, construction tech, eCommerce, IoT, MedTech and service design. Find out more about your sector in Manchester here.

    Access to talent

    Manchester provides access to a wealth of skilled talent, the vital component of scaling any business. With the largest commuter workforce in Europe and 100,000 students at the city’s five universities – SMEs of any size, scale or sector can recruit the right skills.

    Established ecosystme

    Manchester is home to a thriving community of rapid growth businesses, creating an ecosystem that is agile and sustainable enough to help small-medium sized business leaders address both present and future challenges of their fast-growing firms.


    Manchester has the infrastructure, investors and investment mechanisms to support the growth of businesses. In November 2020, it became the second most attractive UK city for tech investment – with VC investment reaching $687.6m up from $199.1m in 2018.

    Commercial opportunities

    Officially the UK’s Top Digital Tech City and a national leader across multiple industries, the breadth and strength of Manchester’s ecosystem provides endless commercial opportunities directly within and across different sectors and industries.

    Cost effective

    With up to 40% lower operating costs than the capital, Manchester offers all the benefits of a thriving ecosystem at a significantly lower cost – both for businesses that establish in the city and employees that live here.


    At the heart of the UK and with Manchester Airport serving more than 210 destinations worldwide, Manchester has the best international connectivity outside of London - enabling the city to compete on a global level.

  6. What I find most exciting is the opportunity to work at the leading edge of science on new technologies that can potentially change the world.

    Andy Goodwin – First Graphene

  7. HELLO Manchester – Your ‘Soft Landing’ Package

    In Manchester, we welcome overseas investors and we want to make it easy for companies to establish themselves in our city region.

    Our HELLO Manchester ‘soft landing’ package helps foreign investors to internationalise their company and build a customer base in the city before making a significant capital investment.

    The package provides free and heavily discounted support from Manchester-based businesses that includes:

    • Fully serviced office space
    • Professional and legal services
    • Membership with business development organisations

    Get in touch today to find out more about the offers and discounts that form our HELLO Manchester ‘soft landing’ package.

    Unrivalled Support

    No matter the size, sector or stage of your SME – Manchester has the perfect programmes and support to drive your company’s growth journey.

    Unlike other UK cities, at the heart of the Manchester economy are strong public-private partnerships and collaborations.

    MIDAS and the GC Business Growth Hub (the nation’s oldest and largest growth hub) both form part of The Growth Company, a not-for-profit economic and skills development organisation that has worked with around 60,000 businesses since its inception.

    GC Business Growth Hub’s 100-strong team of advisers provide scale-ups and SMEs with free, end-to-end account management support to unlock your business potential.

    • Facilitated more than £220m in finance
    • Worked intensively with 11,000 businesses
    • Supported 5,000 start-ups
    • Scale-up Institute-approved Global Scale Up programme
    • First growth hub in the UK
    • Largest growth hub in the UK

    This activity is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 as part of the GC Business Growth Hub Sectors Programme.

    ERDF logo

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