Startup Advice

Starting a business in Manchester

Charlotte Harwood

Manchester is the city with ambitions to become the viable alternative to London

Manchester (or Madchester, if you were a proponent of late 80s/early 90s acid house and spent many a weekend at the Hacienda nightclub) is positively heaving with shops, restaurants, bars and clubs, but it’s also got plenty of history too. From its humble days as a Roman fort through to its major overhaul during the industrial revolution, Manchester’s heritage can be seen all around the city through its architecture, museums, and long-standing sporting connections.

Support for small businesses

In business terms, Manchester is unstoppable. In 2012 alone, nearly 12,000 new businesses started up in the city – a clear indication of its ambitions to become a viable alternative to London. And with the largest city economy outside of the capital, there’s plenty in the way of business support for budding entrepreneurs. Manchester’s Business Growth Hub offers a support programme for start-ups in the area, providing long-term help to launch and develop business ideas through workshops, networking and one-to-one mentoring, while The Skills Company is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the Greater Manchester area and helps young people and adults get on the right track towards a rewarding career.

Transport links

As a major UK city, Manchester benefits from excellent transport links. Manchester Airport is the third largest in the country, with flights to around 220 destinations across the globe every day. It’s thanks to this international gateway that Manchester has such a diverse culture, making it one of the most exciting city destinations to live and work in Britain.

The planned High Speed 2 rail project could see connections from Manchester to London made in just over an hour – half the time it currently takes to travel between the cities on the train.

Manchester’s media hub

Manchester’s creative and media scene received a huge boost in recent years with the development of MediaCity UK, a 200-acre mixed-use site on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Salford. It’s already home to some big names in the media sector including the likes of the BBC, which largely relocated to Manchester as part of its decentralisation from London. The University of Salford also has premises at MediaCity, where over 1,500 students can gain access to brand new digital learning and research space right at the heart of the action.

Funding and connectivity

For those thinking of starting a business in Manchester, the region has two main angel networks. Northwest Business Angels offers investments of between £10,000 and £500,000, while Angels Den works as an angel-led crowdfunding platform that connects angel investors to SMEs.

It’s not just financial support that small businesses can find in Manchester. Small and medium-sized enterprises can get help from Manchester City Council to pay for a super-fast internet connection for businesses and charities with a grant of up to £3,000 to cover the costs.

Get in touch

If you are looking for business broadband or phone line in Manchester, call free on 0808 256 6968.