Skip to content

We Do Things Digitally Here

Industry leaders and businesses from around the region, connect, innovate and collaborate at Manchester’s first ever Digital City Festival.

The Hub’s Director of Business Growth Richard Jeffery hailed Greater Manchester’s innovation and ingenuity at last week’s Digital City Festival, and highlighted the potential that our business community has to increase its connections across international markets. 

GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company were proud supporters of the event which celebrated the North’s booming digital economy over five days of events across the city.

“In 2020, the digital, creative and tech (DCT) community is the fastest growing sector across our city region,” Richard Jeffery told a busy Ecommerce Theatre in his ‘We Do Things Digitally Here’ address. “We have more than 10,000 DCT companies here in Greater Manchester, over 85,000 people working in the sector, and it is worth £5 billion to our local economy.  By any measure, this is the largest DCT cluster outside of London.”

“This is why the Mayor, Andy Burnham, has outlined an ambition to make Greater Manchester one of the top five city regions in Europe for doing things digitally. We believe that it’s hugely beneficial for the sector to have such a high level of public sector backing, with public-private partnerships having a successful track record in DCT.”

With this rapid acceleration and the growing opportunities in our region, specialist support is critical – especially for businesses looking to effectively scale-up, and bring new products or services to market. Find out more about the Hub’s support of both commercial and individual development for those working in the DCT sector.

Andrew Bennison, Managing Director at Prospect Games, spoke of the support his game developer SME has received from the Hub, saying “The Creative Scale-Up Programme has provided me with amazing guidance from day one, giving me the knowledge and focus to onboard new opportunities and staff at Prospect Games. I was supported by The Hub In the early and challenging days of my start-up journey with excellent training and mentorship. Now the Creative Scale-Up Programme is helping us with the next stage of our business, I'm very excited to see where our journey takes us through 2020 and beyond."

In a Q&A session with Sarah Novotny (Digital, Creative and Tech Sector Lead at the Hub), Maginus CEO Simon Weeks spoke of how his OMS and ecommerce business managed to stand out from the crowd and, with a little help and guidance along the way, attract and secure overseas interest.


The week kicked off with a fringe event, ‘Going Global – Digital Tools for International Growth’, where speakers included Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Department for International Trade’s Tom Dixon, who outlined the range of government support on offer to help SMEs export through ecommerce.

At the centre of Going Global was a specialist workshop from Google Digital Garage, equipping around 100 attendees with the practical tools and knowledge to ‘Scale Your Brand and Advertise Across Borders’.

See the Resources section below to access this support.

At the end of the day, the Hub hosted a roundtable discussion to explore the latest thinking around opportunities for Greater Manchester service businesses to scale-up globally through e-commerce.  Richard Jeffery chaired the discussion, with contributions from organisations including NatWest, Tech Nation, Ear to the Ground, DWF, Modern Sky, Gateley, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Department for International Trade.

The outputs of this insightful discussion which looked at issues including pinpointing key markets, brand equity, finding the right partners and changing mindsets around trade and exports, are currently being drafted into a white paper which will outline exactly what steps service businesses need to take to scale globally.   

Once published, the Hub’s advisor network will help businesses to act upon and implement the paper’s key recommendations across their networks.   

Amongst the wealth of other events taking place across the city was the Manchester Start-up/SME Challenge, where MIDAS – Manchester’s inward investment agency, the Department for International Trade and the Hub teamed up to invite a range of innovative start-ups and SMEs from Greater Manchester and across the world to pitch their products and services to an expert panel of Manchester-based businesses and investors.

Panellists included City Football Group, Manchester Central, and N Brown Group, as well as expert, Manchester-based investment professionals, who shared their knowledge and experience about what’s needed to secure that all important financial backing and accelerate their company’s growth.



Google Digital Garage

Market Finder

Google Ads

Google Analytics

Google Search Control

Google Developers

Google Digital Garage

Department for International Trade

The E-Exporting Programme 


Swap Going Well for Growing Well

High impact growth support and specialist guidance for digital, creative and tech sector businesses in Greater Manchester - Find out more

Share this post