As a collective group of individual organisations, the UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG) assembled over a year ago to connect, share and grow the communities we serve. While we regularly meet to discuss regional technology issues and share opportunities, the impact of COVID-19 on the UK tech sector has seen us work even more closely together. As the established voice of grassroots tech, we are prioritising efforts to accelerate the rate of regional recovery following widespread economic disruption caused by the pandemic.
An independent voice
The UKTCG represents geographical clusters of technology and digital businesses across the UK. Independent from government and self-financing, our member organisations include the entire spectrum of businesses that make up the UK’s tech economy – not just the big players. Despite the prominence of a few large corporations and so called “unicorns”, the UK’s tech economy is in fact largely skewed towards small businesses. This ecosystem naturally revolves around local clusters, usually with one or more universities involved as well. These regional ecosystems need to be understood and nurtured at a regional level.
UKTCG’s member organisations are focused on the entirety of their local tech ecosystems, not just start-ups, scale-ups or specific vertical sectors. We support regional economic growth in both the tech sector and the wider economy.
The organisations that make up the UKTCG are all firmly rooted in their communities and are uniquely placed to provide in-depth, granular local and regional intelligence in a way that is impossible (or very time consuming and expensive) to do at a national level.
The UKTCG member organisations are all run by people who have years of experience of working within their local tech economy – we understand the economic and political landscape of our regions and in turn we are extremely well connected and are trusted as intermediaries.
The group has grown out of a natural tendency of the existing regional cluster organisations to collaborate and share information and resources. Together, our robust and trusted network has an extensive reach across the UK which we believe can be harnessed to accelerate ecosystem recovery following the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Regional intelligence and regional response
Since early March the group has been gathering intelligence in our respective regions to understand how both companies and our regional ecosystems have been affected by COVID-19. As well as consulting with government on how to strategically combat sector pain points at large, we have been working at a grassroots level day in, day out to provide companies with immediate relief to individual problems.
We are uniquely placed to best solve the challenges the sector faces at regional level, given our unrivalled local knowledge, current business support activity and connections across regional ecosystems.
We therefore hope we can work with the government as a key delivery partner to quickly bring relief to our UK regions. Only by prioritising regional recovery will we see our much-coveted tech sector bounce back at large from the pandemic.
The UK Tech Cluster Group is in a unique position to provide the voice of the industry at a truly national level and to advise the Government on providing the right support, at the right time to our industry to both survive and thrive moving forward.
Share your insights in the national Digital Skills Audit
The UK Tech Cluster Group is undertaking a national Digital Skills Audit in partnership with the Institute of Coding to understand the effect of the pandemic on the technology sector and employment across the regions of the UK. We are looking for businesses and employees to fill in the survey and share their insights and views. If you are an employer or work in a technology business, please help us to understand what is happening on the ground in your business and how we can support you over the next few years.
Manchester Digital has launched a free guide with advice for employers as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted.
Created in partnership with senior HR specialists from Manchester Digital’s Employer’s Forum group, the guide lays out key considerations for employers in areas including people, office environments, employee health, home working, business travel and visitors, holidays and communications.
The guide can be downloaded for free here.
Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, said: “Even with restrictions eased slightly, the virus still presents a high risk, which will impact how businesses operate, and in particular how and when offices can safely re-open.
“Our free guide is intended to pose questions and considerations to employers as they’re thinking about the short, medium and long term plans for their business operations post lockdown. Of course, change is inevitable, so employers will need to remain flexible and able to respond quickly.”
The coronavirus has had a serious impact on Greater Manchester’s technology sector and Manchester Digital is here to support the region and its businesses.
Manchester Digital’s COVID-19 revealed that for most businesses, the most impactful way the organisation could help was to use its platform and network to allow businesses to maintain an online presence and a connection with other businesses that may require their services.
For that reason, Manchester Digital has come the decision to offer free membership to the wider sector.
- The promotion of a company’s news, initiatives or offers
- Helping to increase the audience attending a company’s online events and webinars
- Aiding business’s recruitment drive via access to a job board and enhanced profiling
- Access to research, resources and support
- The ability to connect and network with other members of Manchester Digital’s community
- The ability to feed into Manchester Digital’s lobbying work around business support for the tech sector during the Corona pandemic.
What else are Manchester Digital doing?
#MDTechCommunity Slack Channel – The organisation’s Slack channel boasts over 250 members and a dedicated #coronavirus channel in which members are sharing tips, advice, and camaraderie.
Content – Manchester Digital has also been creating content to help the sector, and will continue to do so. Some examples of the information it has shared can be found below.
- Coronavirus: What support is available for tech businesses?
- Coronavirus: Looking after employee’s mental health and wellbeing
- COVID-19: A list of useful resources
- Cyber Security Advice for businesses in response to COVID-19
- Freelancer Hangout: COVID-19 advice for the self-employed
Want to raise your profile?
If you want us to help you to raise your profile, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange sharing your news, jobs or events on their site.