A guide to the Pennines tech hub

Thanks to a wealth of universities and financial services, the Pennines is a tech hub home to the highest number of fintechs outside London

In 2021, the former CEO of Worldpay, Sir Ron Kalifa, published the now well-known government commissioned Kalifa report, a review of the UK fintech landscape. One of the elements of the report was around nurturing the nation’s existing hubs of tech activity, which Kalifa identified and categorised by location and status.

London is a superhub; there are also a number of emerging clusters throughout the UK, including Northern Ireland, Bristol and Reading. There are also large and established clusters such as the Pennines region, which covers Manchester and Leeds.

“Clusters are a worthwhile focus, as they are recognised as powerful economic and social development tools that empower innovation and show more resilience,” the report stated. The Pennines is home to 135 fintechs, or the highest number of companies outside of London, with 13 per cent of high-growth fintechs nationally headquartered there.

There are many reasons why the Manchester-Leeds area has become such a hotbed of tech industry and innovation. Education across both cities is one factor: there are 14 universities here, producing around 70,000 graduates annually. Add that to the combined population of around 6 million, and you’ve got a strong pipeline of talent for the region’s start-ups, scale-ups and established firms.

Another building block is the fact that Manchester is home to the UK’s largest regional financial services industry. It has had some big tech success stories, which include e-commerce giant The Hut Group (THG) and health firm Push Doctor, along with household electricals supplier AO.com, automotive marketplace AutoTrader as well as online fashion site Boohoo.com.

The BBC’s early 2000s announcement that it was to move jobs to the MediaCity area of Salford Quays also helped. It is now a thriving location for a wide variety of media, TV, tech, arts and web companies. KPMG reported in 2021 that 10,000 jobs in the area had been provided by MediaCity and the number of digital and creative businesses have increased by 70 per cent since it was launched.

According to the 2021 Tech Nation Report, Leeds tech companies received £29m in VC investment last year, notably in createch and healthech. The report also indicated that the wider Yorkshire region is home to two unicorn firms, as well as two future unicorns, or soonicorns.

The number of fintech start-ups in the Leeds city area doubled between November 2018 and March 2020 thanks to its history of retail banking and financial services and growing reputation as a tech city. Names to know include Answer Pay, which offers digitised bill payment and financial services and Tappit, providing digital cashless payment solutions for events.

So, if you’re looking for a new challenge that conveniently also comes with a more affordable cost of living, you could consider the Pennines as a serious contender.

We’re taking a look at three roles in the region below, and there are plenty more to discover on the GrowthBusiness job board.

SharePoint Developer, International Procurement & Logistics Ltd, Leeds

The SharePoint developer will join International Procurement & Logistics’ head office in Normanton. You will assist with the design, development, management and administration support of the SharePoint business system and support the business in removing manual paper based forms, document housing and data recording. You’ll also provide technical guidance on solution design, development best practice and set and monitor coding standards. Interacting with users to understand business requirements/process flows and translate into technical requirements for assigned projects and job requests is part of this role, as is collaborating with other developers, project managers, customers, database and system administrators for end-to-end application development and implementation. Find the full job spec here.

SEM Manager, ORDERYOYO, Manchester

Helping restaurants succeed online ORDERYOYOo provides them with personalised branded mobile apps, websites and marketing. It ensures that small to medium-sized restaurants and chains are not subjected to lofty commissions, and gives restaurants ownership of their success. Working within the existing SEM Team, the SEM manager supports various initiatives across SEM. With a strong focus on PPC, ORDERYOYO currently manage ads for over 5,000 restaurant partners, and the ideal candidate has experience working with paid search in Google Ads (preferably within e-commerce) and has extensive knowledge and experience operating campaigns both in bulk and one-to-one. Get more info on the job here.

.NET Developer, Noir Consulting, Bolton

Noir Consulting is hiring for one of Europe’s largest and most profitable commercial radio groups, which is transforming its stations into interactive brands, operating across multiple platforms such as online, digital TV and mobile. The .NET developer will join a dynamic .NET / C# team, for an exciting opportunity to work on complex enterprise level .NET / C# software development projects. You’ll enjoy a structured career progression programme, industry recognised training, flexible working hours and home working. Get more information on the role here.

Discover job opportunities in the Pennines region and across the UK on the GrowthBusiness job board.

More on tech hubs

A guide to the Glasgow-Edinburgh tech hub

A guide to the Silicon Fen tech sector

Related Topics

Tech hubs