1. Is this your first time sponsoring the Big Chip Awards?
This is MSP’s fourth year as sponsor of the ‘Most Innovative Application of Technology’ category. We have always been a huge supporter of Manchester Digital and the Big Chip Awards as a means of showcasing the creativity and innovation that comes from digital businesses in the region. Excellence should always be celebrated and there’s plenty to celebrate around here.
2. What made you want to become a sponsor?
It’s important to support events that highlight what the digital industry in the North has to offer, which the Big Chip has done for many years. The Most Innovative Application of Technology Award is particularly important to MSP as we were established to help transform new ideas in science and technology into commercial reality. Our goal is for Manchester to be internationally recognised as a leading city for innovation, and the work of awards like the Big Chip helps to achieve this.
3. What do you think the Big Chip Awards do for the digital industry in the North?
We believe that celebrating local talent and commercial success in this way can build a lot of confidence in the industry and help the sector flourish in future. The digital industry in the North has received a lot of attention from government and the media in recent months, so the Big Chip Awards have an important role to play as a national showcase for the excellent and often groundbreaking work that happens here.
4. There is a lot of buzz about making Manchester and other cities in the North a digital hub - why do you think Manchester specifically is being targeted?
Manchester has a maturity and ambition which really sets it apart from other regional cities. It has the most established media sector outside of London, one of the first ISPs and a thriving cluster of digital businesses, with companies like BooHoo which has floated in the last couple of years.
We also have fantastic universities and one of the largest student populations in Europe, which now has a growing number of enterprise support programmes to help nurture the next generation of business leaders in the sector.
Our proximity to the other Northern cities of Liverpool and Leeds, with their own growing digital hubs, means there is far more value to be leveraged by working together.
5. What do you think the future holds for digital in the North in the next 12 months?
We’re very excited about the future of digital in the North over the next 12 months. The Northern cities have made a lot of progress in recent years, with much more focused attention on both the importance of the digital sector to the UK economy and the economic growth potential of our cities through the Northern Powerhouse. The key priority over the coming months will be to maintain this level of focus following the election, to develop long-term strategies and begin to really address the critical issues around skills, investment and business support infrastructure.
Manchester Science Partnerships sponsored the Most Innovative Application of Technology award in 2015