Tech groups in Manchester and Lancashire get Barclays boost for start-up support

Katie Gallagher

Barclays Eagle Labs have awarded funding to two organisations driving tech innovation and business support in Manchester and Lancashire.

Manchester Digital, the city region’s industry body for tech and digital, will run a programme to offers support for 200 start-ups and founders, 20 in each of the 10 boroughs, over an initial period of 12 months. This programme will sit under Manchester Digital’s existing Start-up Activator programme, which was launched last year. 

In Lancashire, Northern Reach, the Lancaster-based tech businesses consultancy which manages the Lancashire County Council-funded Lancashire Digital Hub initiative, will increase the frequency of the Hub’s regular Tech Talks evenings, Digital Leaders meet ups, and Techy Tuesday drop-in sessions, all of which have helped bring Lancashire’s different technology communities together.

The Ecosystem Partnership Programme supports organisations, embedded in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem to help boost their support to tech and digital businesses. Organisations could apply for matched funding to deliver new or amplify existing activities that address opportunities or challenges that have been identified within their local ecosystem.

Manchester Digital MD Katie Gallagher OBE said: “Our Start-up Activator programme offers a bold vision of a hyperlocal, inclusive, and thriving startup ecosystem across Greater Manchester. Our plan is to catalyse the creation of exceptional, start-up tech businesses across each of the 10 boroughs in the Greater Manchester region by giving networks of diverse founders the help and support they need to build their own tech business.”

Dan Knowles, founder and MD of Northern Reach, said: “Since 2022, the Lancashire Digital Hub’s objective has been to facilitate and strengthen relationships between disparate technology clusters, bring early stage businesses and scale-ups together with potential investors, and connect key tech influencers with Lancashire’s wider business community.

“Two years on and our programme of meetups and peer-to-peer networking sessions, together with annual gatherings like the Lancashire Digital Summit, has helped establish a thriving digital industries community which might otherwise have remained siloed.

“Now, with Barclays Eagle Labs backing – which has been match funded by Lancashire County Council and Northern Reach- we can not only expand and increase the coverage and frequency of the Hub’s existing activities, we can also develop new initiatives such as the first ever Lancashire start-up weekend.”    

Amanda Allan, Director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “Using our Ecosystem Partnership Programme, we are allocating funding to organisations like Manchester Digital and Northern Reach that are already plugged into their regional ecosystems. We are proud to be able to support these projects, which are designed to help early-stage tech entrepreneurs. Our support highlights our ongoing commitment to support the tech sector, which is vital to the continued growth of local economies across the whole of the UK.”