In March 2020, Greater Manchester was referenced in two high profile announcements, topping the charts in a world first AI survey and inclusion of the city region in the Tech Nation 2020 report.

A deep dive study using artificial intelligence has highlighted the ‘hidden’ digital businesses driving UK tech – illustrating the way that regional innovation is already helping to ‘level up’ the digital economy.

Manchester is revealed as the UK’s Top Digital Tech City based on the scale of digital business activity in the city-region and affordability, with business rates less than half those in London.

Research conducted by The Data City for the UK’s Top Digital Tech Cities – 2020 report (opens new site) shows that Manchester is home to 18,926 digital businesses and hosted 1,789 related digital events in 2019, yet boasts average rateable value of only £130 per sq metre. London has more digital businesses and events but was forced into second place with business rates more than double those in Manchester (£270 per sq metre), prompting the UK Government to acknowledge the strength of regional digital innovation, including the role for centres outside London in making the country more competitive internationally.

Graham Stuart MP, UK Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade, said: “As one of the easiest places to set up and operate a business, the UK’s creative economy and strong R&D ecosystem help ensure that the UK’s digital sector is thriving.

This report shows that all regions across the UK are seeing the benefits of digital business and, with Manchester leading the way, it’s exciting to see how the digital economy is levelling up opportunity nationwide.”

Data science and software company, The Data City (opens new page), built a bespoke AI engine to analyse web, open and licensed data to provide real-time insights into the UK’s digital and tech industry. It crawled more than four million UK business websites and 100,000 event listings.

UK’s Top Digital Tech Cities – 2020 ranks 10 UK cities using indices including digital businesses, events, and costs, to produce the following table.

  1. Manchester
  2. London
  3. Birmingham
  4. Bristol
  5. Milton Keynes
  6. Leeds
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Brighton
  9. Reading
  10. Glasgow

Furthermore, key statistics in the Tech Nation Report 2020 (opens new page) recognised Manchester as Europe's fastest-growing major tech cluster, with investment growing from £48m in 2018 to £181m in 2019 as announced in.

The report also cited Manchester amongst Europe's top 20 cities for tech investment and referenced the region as national leader in IoT industries.

This is fantastic news and supports our ambition to be recognised as a world-leading digital city region, with an ongoing commitment to taking an open, innovative and connective approach to delivering that ambition as set out in our Digital Blueprint (opens new page).

Speaking about the blueprint launch earlier this year, Councillor Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council and GMCA digital portfolio lead, said: “Our Digital Blueprint is a new era for digital in Greater Manchester that will help us become a top five European city-region recognised globally for our digital innovation.

“We want to make life easier, faster, more connected, more efficient, safer and more sustainable for everyone who lives, works and visits here – and digital is central to that. That’s why we are doing digital differently, delivering for the people of Greater Manchester and realising the city region’s potential through our infrastructure, skills and culture."


Article Published: 30/03/2020 10:59 AM