Budget 2015: Federation House chosen for tech hub

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The 87,000 sq ft Federation House in Manchester city centre is to become home to a tech incubator known as 'Forward Plan', supported by a £4m government investment.

The eight-storey building in Federation Street is owned by the Co-operative Group and Hermes as part of the NOMA site, and will be the location for one of three tech hubs announced in the Chancellor's Budget, alongside 'Maker Hub' in Sheffield and 'Future Labs' in Leeds.

Federation HouseOsborne's Budget report said: "In February 2015, the Chancellor convened tech entrepreneurs to launch the Tech Nation report, which revealed that over 170,000 people are now working in digital business in the North, many in rapidly expanding tech clusters.

To accelerate this growth, the government will support the development of innovative businesses across the north through an £11 million investment in tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield."

Forward is the latest incubator initiative from Doug Ward and Shaun Gibson, co-founders of SpacePortX and Tech Britain, and lobbyists for the North West technology sector. Their goal is to make Manchester one of the top five European tech clusters.

Forward is expected to work as part of the Tech North organisation announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in October 2014.

Tech North will benefit from the same business rates incentives as Tech City in Shoreditch, which is home to hundreds of start-ups.

A head of Tech North is due to be appointed in the coming weeks.

Forward is advised by Sheila Bird Group and Edwards & Co.

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Well done guys. Great to see your vision will be achieved #happy

By David Guest