With all the headlines that London’s “Tech City” has been making in the last 12 months, the number of potential successful tech start-ups coming out of the north of England could be forgiven for being a touch disgruntled by the lack of exposure their own movement is receiving. This is further exemplified by the fact that 75% of Britain’s successful start-ups are based outside of the capital, and yet until recently, no coverage, and not much support.
That was until late last year, when the Government introduced the new digital tech-hub based in Manchester and reaching across to Newcastle. Called “Tech North”, the task of the movement is to source investors for the huge number of exciting start-ups emanating from across the region. Aided by the SEIS and EIS incentives, the North of England has, it would appear, been earmarked finally by a Conservative Government as being integral to driving the economic growth of the country.
Tech clusters are sprouting up in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham among others, and entrepreneurs and investors are now largely focusing on digital projects as their best chance for start-up success.
With SEIS reducing the cost of potential failure for investors via a selection of attractive tax breaks, there is more help available to entrepreneurs than ever before. However the one factor which still needs addressing is getting the word out there about schemes such as this.
With the appointment of Claire Brathwaite as the head of Tech North, it is hoped she will be able to actively raise awareness across the region about the huge opportunity qualification for the scheme represents to those in need of vital funding. Her expertise and track record is proven in bringing together investors and entrepreneurs across all sectors, and if she can hit the ground running with the digital tech sector across the North, the UK could realise its lofty ambition of contributing fledgling companies that rival the success seen across the pond in Silicon Valley.
Prepare to Fail
In the American tech nerve-centre, failure is seen as a necessary evil. Most start-ups are generally expected to fail, and entrepreneurs sometimes have to experience a lack of success in perhaps up to three ventures, before they finally make the breakthrough, in the UK however, the support structure we are gradually seeing the implementation of should give every chance of the right minds with the right ideas achieving positive outcomes.
Tech North has created a real buzz, and a feel-good factor has arrived for the misty-eyed young tech sector up north. We can all be very optimistic about the fact that it is not just London and their “Silicon Roundabout” that is stealing the limelight and the favourable incentives. If the idea is there, so now is the support and infrastructure.