by Steve Upham : altspace Coworking Office
It’s been over a year now since the vote for the UK to leave the European Union and it feels like a suitable time to gauge the business mood. Manchester Digital in association with the Startup Factory hosted a panel debate on 8th Sept to discuss how Brexit has affected the Manchester Digital scene over the last year. Three international digital companies who have chosen to locate in Manchester were joined by Martha Sama from MIDAS ( Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency ) to discuss their businesses and the appeal of the City as a business location.
Luka Nachbar Cviki from the Digital Agency Nuuk, Jamie Essed from TelePsy a digital care platform and Javier Re from Crowdar Software providers shared some interesting insight into why they chose to move their businesses to Manchester. Significantly Nuuk and Crowdar have re-located their main office to the area and cite the local business market, transport links and affordability as key factors. Luka praised the friendly corporate culture that has assisted them in gaining new local business. He also found recruitment easy assisting the company grow to a team of six.
The issue of talent continues to be a challenge for small companies in the City as they compete with established larger businesses for the cream of the tech talent. Our host Richard Gregory (TechNorth ) and Martha discussed the importance of partnerships with the universities and public / private partnerships. The region needs to retain it’s programming talent and ensure that smaller companies feel supported with internal training assistance. Luka made an insightful point that Nuuk liked to recruit people who suit the culture of the company who can then be trained up as opposed to ill – fitting, better qualified candidates.
The Brexit vote has created uncertainty in the business community slowing down decision making on locating in the UK. With tough competition from European Cities including Berlin and Paris the City needs to show resolve and offer solutions to those who envisage issues with recruitment in the near future. Without an agreeable immigration option how will digital businesses source talent? One further challenge could involve funding as European sources of investment are cut off.
Javier’s presence gave optimism to the room. His recent decision to move Crowdar from Argentina to Manchester illustrates that it retains its international appeal and can help small companies grow by accessing key markets. The transport links to London and other European centres are advantageous. When they are combined with the major businesses now migrating operations to the North it gives the region huge appeal. One area of improvement could involve access to business development advice as noted by Jamie. The Startup Factory and other private companies are well positioned to help fill any gaps here and can be commended for sponsoring this interesting talk.
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