Posts Tagged ‘Digital

There is some serious talent  on the streets and in the bedrooms of Manchester.  Young people with the kind of creativity we would give our right arm for, Manchester’s future is in their hands.

A teacher I met at the BBC 21st Century Classroom in Salford, told me about his 15 year old student (let’s call him John) who made £5 here, £10 there, by designing My Space pages for his friends. The teacher was frustrated at not having the ability to help John take his digital talent to the next level, nor access to appropriate business start up advice for this teen entrepreneur. When asked what he would do after his GCSE’s, John told the teacher that he’d follow into his father’s shopfitting business, he didn’t consider college, work in the creative sector, or starting his own business as possible options.

To be clear, I am in no way critical of John’s choice. Good design is needed in the physical world as well as the digital (if not more so!).  However,  I do think the story raises the question of how we best nurture young talent, both in and outside schools.

I like the idea of business advisors having surgeries in schools and youth clubs, helping young people to think about markets for their ideas, before they get squelched by the ‘real world’.  I’d love to hear of any case studies where this works (or doesn’t).

We’re lucky to live in a city like Manchester, where projects and partners are aiming to resolve  some of these issues.  Robots have been built at the  MADLAB,  and last year Innovation Manchester and the Manchester Innovation Investment Fund supported Creative Open Access – growing the inner geek in some of Manchester’s brightest young people.

Now a new course, also to be held at Cornerhouse, will not only nurture creativity in 18-24 year olds, but also introduce the skills to progress a career in the creative industries

At the core of the scheme, the kids at the App School will develop their ideas for an iPhone ‘app’, and they’ll work on those ideas throughout the programme. In addition, they’ll get training on things such as project management, team-working, presenting their work, and business & financial management. At the very end of the scheme, they’ll be pitching their ideas through to a panel of some of the city’s best creative companies – who, if they like what they see, will be able to offer them internships. If the ideas are good, the companies will actually create the ‘app’ as a joint venture.

If you know of any young people in Manchester, please help spread the word!

The course is being run by The White Room, in partnership with Manchester City Council, MMU, and Cornerhouse, and applications close next Sunday, 21st February.


Through Innovation Manchester last year, we brought together cross-sectoral groups to identify opportunities for innovation growth in different business areas, one of which was sport.

Sport is a key sector in its own right, but also one which is closely inter-related with other economic sectors, including fashion, clothing, textiles, science, medicine, construction, financial and professional – the list goes on! Of course sport also has significant strategic importance for MCR in terms of brand and cultural offer.

Manchester has been hugely successful in attracting high quality world events, the city hosts the World Academy of Sport, and our universities excel in Sport Sciences. With these incredible sporting assets, it is hardly surprising that Manchester is an incredible sporting brand with a great international reputation.

In addition to all this,  BBC Sport will move to Media City in 2011, providing great supply chain opportunities for businesses who link media and digital technologies with sport. So we must have a great ecosystem of small businesses supporting the ‘Business of Sport’, right? Well I’m not so sure…

M:KC are in the process of researching just what assets and activities  make up this sporting infrastructure, and sports related media seems to be one area where we might be punching below our weight. I attended the Sport & Technology conference in London a couple of weeks ago, and despite an international audience, Mancunians were few & far between.

I’d love to get your input. Is there a mass of Sport / tech business activity out there that we haven’t come across yet? How can we support those sporting assets that we have, to provide more and better opportunities for all local business, but not least those in technology, digital and media?  NWDA will raising some of the wider sport supply chain questions at an upcoming NW Business Insider event in September

What I’d really like to discuss, is how can we make better connections between our Sport, research and business community to pick up the pace of innovation, change and growth in MCR? World wide innovation in sport and technology continues apace , but how can we maximise that benefit here in Manchester?

Innovation Manchester

Innovation Manchester is a dynamic and diverse network of innovators and entrepreneurs, working together to make Manchester a better place to do business. We’re making Manchester a global innovation leader by creating: - new connections - new business opportunities - radical city-wide solutions Be part of the innovation conversation - all you need is enthusiasm and original thinking.

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