On Tuesday night I was down in Manchester for TechBasin Beers, a monthly informal meetup for Manchester based tech startups, where Doug Ward and Shaun Gibson of Tech Britain along with Ben Hookway and Martin Bryant announced TechHub Manchester. I really enjoyed my time there and met some fantastic folk and thought it would be worthwhile sharing some of my takeaways.
Feels a bit like home
The similarities between Manchester and Scotland (namely Glasgow as it’s the city on my doorstep) are striking. Scotland has the likes of James Baster, Joe Wright and Aaron Bassett (among others) organising and facilitating quality events and services which have become the backbone of the Scottish community. Likewise Manchester has the likes of Sean Handley, Gemma Cameron and Nathan Rae who are passionate about technology and are keen to see their local community prosper.
Outwith the similarities in the strong community, Manchester also shares many of the benefits I think Scotland has such as a talent pool and successful companies (i.e. Late Rooms). It’s reassuring to know there are others facing the same problems but also tackling them with the same attitude and enthusiasm.
The announcement of a facility like TechHub is massive for Manchester. In the short while Edinburgh has had TechCube we have already seen it take strides to becoming the de facto venue for most startup activity in the city. With TechHub, Manchester will now have a similar focal point for the local community. The benefit of such a focal point are obvious; foster chance meetings, community spirit, build relationships, facilitate collaboration and convenience.
I really think all the tech communities of the UK should be working closely together and not just Manchester and Scotland. As can be seen from the Tech Britain tour the likes of Newcastle, Birmingham and beyond share many of the same traits. Each community is not competing with each other and it’s not the case there can only be one or at most two cities in the UK capable of producing world class tech startups.
I believe we are capable of growing together and I look forward to further trips down to Manchester and to their TechHub.