Liberal Democrat leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg has announced the creation of TechNorth, a start-up hub to rival east London’s Tech City.
TechNorth will encompass Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle and promises to help local technology and digital companies pool resources.
The plan is to make the north of England more attractive to international investors which, it’s hoped, will lead to the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs.
Clegg said: “We’ve listened to local business leaders and there is a clear need for us to seize an opportunity to capitalise on existing tech talent by creating a Northern Tech Hub to rival Berlin, New York, or Shanghai.
“My ambition, over time, is to double the number of tech jobs in the North, creating a stronger economy. To put this in context – it is estimated there are about 200,000 ICT jobs in the region currently.”
It’s not known if TechNorth will provide any funding for start ups like the technology and accelerator funds run by Finance for Business North East currently do.
Finance for Business North East, which is funded by cash from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and the EIB (European Investment Bank), says that over 1,500 jobs in the north east of England have already been created as a result of the funding.
Earlier this month, Clegg signed off a £476.7 million Greater Manchester Growth Deal, which aims to create more jobs across the region but it’s not clear if start-ups or tech companies outside of the life sciences sector will benefit.
The news comes as the deadline for companies who want to apply for discounts on business broadband installed is announced. Companies in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle have been able to apply for up to £3,000 off of the installation of superfast broadband as part of the Super Connected Cities scheme.
While Liverpool and Sheffield aren’t covered by the Super Connected scheme, gigabit broadband provider Hyperoptic has recently announced that its planning on bringing its wares to both Liverpool and Sheffield.
Sheffield businesses facing relegation to the superslow leagues following the collapse of the £150 million Digital Region catastrophe, stand to be re-connected to superfast broadband by BT – but the Superfast South Yorkshire project won’t be finished until the end of 2017.
Further afield, Virgin Media has announced that it plans to give Derby businesses a shot in the arm with the rollout of up to 2Gbps ultrafast services as part of the Connect Derby plan.