Hundreds from tech industry come together for first digital summit.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will bring hundreds of the brightest minds together today in a bid to inspire ideas and innovation to make the city region among the best digital hubs in the world.
The Digital Summit, held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Liverpool Road, Manchester, is the first digitally-focused event Andy has convened since taking power in May.
And it has been so successful that more than 100 people remain on a waiting list to be there, despite two satellite hubs in Oldham and Stockport hosting remote access to the debate.
Andy, who will open and close the event as well as playing a key role in facilitating conversations and creating Greater Manchester’s first digital strategy, was clear in his election manifesto that he intends to use his influence to inspire and empower people in tech roles to drive innovation and create a world beating digital city region.
He is expected to also announce a number of new initiatives linked to improvements in digital but will ask those in the room to shape those ideas over the coming months.
Andy said: “Today is about a conversation and we have got some very key people in the room to help us really establish Greater Manchester forward as a world beating digital city. I want them to help me write a new ambitious digital plan for our city region. Our goal is to be the best in the UK but I want everyone at the summit to have an input into how we do that and I will ask them to shape ideas with me.”
Among those initiatives is a £2million digital skills fund, which Andy will challenge local tech business to boost to at least £8million pot to support initiatives identified in the digital strategy.
He added: “This is an incredible opportunity. My vision is for Greater Manchester to challenge neighbours in London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge to be the UK’s leading digital city. I have gathered the brightest and most influential tech people here and together we will achieve that.”
Among the summit conveners who will be leading the conversations with Andy today will be Sandy Lindsay OBE, Laurence Jones from UKFast, Lou Cardwell from Magnetic North, Katie Gallagher from Manchester Digital and Kirsty Styles from Tech North.
Andy has already been clear in announcing the summit that he wants tech innovation and digital prowess to help create not only a world renowned digital city but help deliver a more equal society too.
He added: “My passion truly lies in this idea of ‘tech for good’ and encouraging our great digital minds to think about the challenges in our society, creating tech to tackle them. It would be fantastic if we led the country in encouraging digital innovation which supports businesses and investment, creating jobs and opportunity, but focusing on improving outcomes for people such as loneliness or homelessness in our society.”
To follow and contribute to the conversation follow #GMDigital and @MayorofGM on Twitter.