Jennifer O'Grady - Head of Agency

Head of Agency

It’s not like Mancunians to be backward at coming forward, but when it comes to our digital economy, it appears we’re something of a shy wallflower.

Despite having the second biggest digital sector in Europe, Manchester’s digital businesses don’t like to talk about it – and it could be stopping them from realising their potential.

That’s the first out-take from the Digital Revolution day-long conference at Manchester’s Comedy Store, which has seen hundreds of businesses in the digital sector gather to learn, network and plan.

The industry body for all businesses in the digital sector in the city, Manchester Digital, has a clear five point plan to address the biggest issues facing growth in digital.

These are:

  1. Talent and skills
  2. Leadership
  3. Infrastructure
  4. A healthy eco-system
  5. Promotion and profile

The conference heard from Alison Ross, of Autotrader, that the fragmented nature of Manchester’s digital scene might actually be a positive, as it reflects the rapid growth of so many start-ups and the young nature of the sector.

Manchester’s place on the global stage when it comes to digital businesses means that we can no longer compare the city to others in the UK, but must look to comparable cities in Europe for a yardstick of how healthy the digital sector is.

Working with schools and universities will be vital to growing the industry, according to Richard Gregory, founder of SASCON. As are the networks of peer to peer groups and mentoring that will enable start-up businesses and SMEs to reach their potential.

So far, so good… digital in Manchester is booming and if individual businesses and trade bodies such as Manchester Digital can amplify this message on to the widest possible stages, the full story can be told.