City Council to set up new holding company to develop digital sites
Manchester City Council has announced plans to establish a new holding company that will help support the growth and development of strategic digital sites in Manchester – creating new employment and businesses opportunities for the city.
The holding company will act as a ‘mother brand’ for the family of ‘Projects’ bringing together a portfolio of existing city-owned digital assets – including The Sharp Project – and acting as the fulcrum for the development of new digital assets in the city.
The new sites that will be brought into the company, including One Central Park on Central Park and the former Fujitsu building in West Gorton will have separate branding identities and will operate as individual enterprises.
Combined the three sites will have in excess of 450,000sq ft of floor space dedicated to creative digital businesses that could create up to 1,300 jobs over the next three years. The sites all include the development of skills and advancement of education as an additional focus.
The City Council wholly-owned holding company will help provide strategic direction to the digital sector, harness the activities of a range of agencies involved in this sector, identify gaps in provision and bring forward strategies to fill them. It will also be responsible for managing the three separate subsidiary ‘Projects’.
A business plan for the company will be submitted for approval by the City Council’s Executive later this year.
Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, who has responsibility for Digital Manchester, said: “We want to bring these three important Council owned assets under one umbrella body so the group can further improve our position in this rapidly expanding and competitive global market. The City’s creative and digital sector is vital for Manchester’s economy. It stimulates growth and attracts new entrepreneurs, start-ups, capital and talent to the city.
“It is clear that over time we will need to expand this asset base as demand outstrips supply. The holding company will allow us to create a flexible platform so we can respond quickly to opportunities as they present themselves.”
Sue Woodward OBE, Director of The Sharp Project and Manchester’s Creative Media Champion said: “We have created something very special at The Sharp Project and it would be prudent to capitalise on this opportunity. Creating a new company to bring these three important assets together is a major milestone for us and for Manchester as a whole. The Council’s foresight in grasping this opportunity with both hands and believing in our ambition is truly commendable and quite remarkable.”