Stockport distinguishing itself in new tech sector

Michael Smoult

Stockport is emerging as a real hub for new technology, according to the judge of a Dragons’ Den-style competition for start-ups in the area.

Lawyer Michael Smoult, a partner in the wills, trusts & probate team of Gorvins Solicitors, said that contestants in Pioneer 10 – an annual award for innovative and ambitious local businesses – were clearly reflecting real growth in this area.

“Stockport hasn’t traditionally been associated with the new and high tech industry,” said Mr Smoult, whose firm co-sponsored the awards.

“But judging by the number of candidates innovating in this field, it’s clear that the area is on the way to being a hub for new technology.”

Led by Stockport Business and Innovation Centre (SBIC), Pioneer 10 aims to both support early stage businesses, as well as established businesses looking to branch out into new markets.

During the competition 10 shortlisted participants were subjected to a Dragons’ Den-style grilling as they pitched their business plan to a panel of judges.

This year’s winner was Wattl, a free-to-download app that uses artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology to provide a bird’s eye overview of the web’s most interesting clips and pictures.

In return for scooping the top prize, the company received a package of services for their business worth up to £15,000, including their own space at Stockport Business & Innovation Centre.

Mr Smoult added: “This was much-deserved recognition for Wattl.

“But what Pioneer 10 also shows is that there’s a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and innovation around Stockport, especially in new technology.

“I was delighted to take part on behalf of my firm and to applaud all the finalists for driving Stockport as a market player in the 21st Century.”

The Pioneer 10 finalists and judges