Manchester has teamed up with Cisco to incubate start-ups working on addressing the city’s needs. The collaboration provides up to 20 new companies with technical help as well as data and guidance on the city’s problems. The start-ups are supposed to help turn Manchester into a smart city in the areas of transport, healthcare, energy, the environment, culture and community.
Results & Impact
There have been more than 400 applications for 20 places, and the winners will be announced shortly
Manchester Science Partnerships, Cisco, Bruntwood, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and the local authorities of Manchester, Salford and Cheshire East
Each start-up selected for the scheme will receive free desk space in the incubator and help developing their smart city ideas into sustainable business models. Cisco will provide technical advice while the public sector partners give guidance on the city's problems and back the project in order to benefit from the solutions it generates
Manchester Science Park, which is the largest of its kind in the UK with more than 170 tech companies.
Entrepreneurs, city dwellers
Cost & Value
The organisers expect that the biggest challenge will consist in turning ideas with social benefit into strong business models
Manchester is accelerating high tech start-ups using the Internet of Things to help solve the city’s problems. In a partnership with technology giant Cisco, local authorities, universities and healthcare trusts will open an innovation centre providing data, guidance and research expertise. The start-ups are supposed to help turn Manchester into a Smart City in areas of transport, healthcare, energy, the environment, culture and community.
The innovation centre will take in between 16 and 20 early stage start-ups which will receive mentoring from Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships. Cisco is also providing expertise in big data and IT infrastructure. Companies chosen for the scheme will receive two free desk spaces in the centre, which is called Mi-IDEA. Located in MSP’s newest 70,000 sq ft development in the heart of the city’s innovation district, it is scheduled to open in early 2017.
Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships said: “The idea of the post accelerator is to help businesses with real growth potential where we can really focus on putting the right wrap around support services. The thematic areas of focus are the Internet of Things, smart cities, digital health and digital creative. It is all part of Manchester’s massive smart city prototype project which is seeking to engage a vast range of startups and SMEs. We will provide the architecture and platforms for those companies to trial their new services.”
Manchester Science Partnerships is the largest science park operator in the UK, with shareholders including development company Bruntwood, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and the local authorities of Manchester, Salford and Cheshire East.
The city is also fast gaining a reputation as a powerful northern technology hub with proven success stories like the accommodation booking site LateRooms.com, fashion e-tailer BooHoo.com and e-commerce site Auto Trader all based in the city. Manchester also received a boost last December when it won £10m in central government funding to research subjects around Smart Cities and the Internet of Things.
In a competition that received 22 entries from 34 cities across the UK, Manchester won the funding with its bid to demonstrate applications of the Internet of Things. The city’s plan is to showcase a Smart City on a working scale which could provide a blueprint for other UK and worldwide locations.
The launch of the centre follows its southern predecessor, IDEALondon, an initiative between Cisco, publishers DC Thomson and University College London, which opened in late 2013. IDEALondon allows corporate companies direct access to interesting start-ups. The young companies, in return, gain a range of support, from free working spaces to legal advice and business mentoring.
(Picture: Flickr/Dave Wood)