As we all know, Manchester is well known for its thriving base of fast fashion brands who have expert knowledge when it comes to converting trends into fast fashion, as well being the UK’s 2nd largest creative, digital and ad-tech hub- but what’s new?

Let’s dive a little deeper into one of my sectors…

In recent years, with the phenomenal growth of the fintech sector, Manchester provides primary and secondary homes to many Fintech businesses including OakNorth, AccessPay and Klarna- that’s great, but what impact does this have on us northerners?

According to MIDAS- Manchester’s inward investment agency, statistics show that Fin-Tech sector growth in Manchester outstrips anywhere else in the UK, growing 50% over the past decade, which is five times more than the national average. We took the opportunity to collect opinions from migrating fast-growth brands, Fin-Tech targeting universities and the norths creative agencies on how this impacts their line of work.

Swedish payment platform Klarna announced to open a secondary office in Manchester in earlier in July, allowing the Fin-Tech firm to be closer to many of its retail partners such as In The Style, JD Sports, and Missguided.  “Manchester was an obvious choice for us from the start, given the city is home to some of the biggest and most innovative fashion brands in the country. Our new office gives us greater access to the North West’s dynamic retail businesses, as well as the region’s top talent pool.” Explains Luke Griffiths, General Manager at Klarna UK.

“We really couldn’t find a better second home as we continue to grow and bring our ‘smoooth’ payment options to more brands outside of London.” He added.

To support this growth, universities are increasingly getting on board to constantly add to the talent pool, with MMU’s Fintech Masters course and Manchester’s tech communities providing a growing range of programmes, events and roundtables. Neil Pedersen, Senior Fintech Lecturer at MMU stated, “MMU was the first university in England to launch an MSc in Financial Technology.  The programme combines academic expertise in finance, technology, risk and behavioural science with professional experience from the financial services industry.  This gives the degree both academic depth as well as commercial relevance.”

We also asked Amir Nooriala, Chief Strategy Officer at fintech challenger bank, OakNorth, on his reasons for opening a secondary office in the heart of Manchester;

We are a London headquartered business, but when we started the business we knew we had to have a Manchester office from day one. Access to talent was an important factor. In Manchester, there are four very strong universities with a graduate pipeline. You also have big banks who have built a pool of expert talent.”

Seeing the migration of these successful businesses moving into the north creates a promising future for employment but also fuelling the growth of the north’s talented agencies, as it not only increases the average brief value for projects but it also stimulates the north agency economy through bringing a greater variation and scope for activity.

“Up and coming businesses thrive on creative, disruptive thinking. And it’s always been in Manchester’s DNA to be hard-working, practical and opinionated. That’s an ideal combination” commented Nick Hussey, Chief Operating Officer at Forever Beta.

Building on the existing strength of Manchester and it’s a vibrant and growing economy, the migration of fintech businesses along with other global giants will soon become the key engine for faster growth in Manchester, putting it on the map yet again.

However, to answer a question that poses many creative minds… how will these businesses impact the creative suppliers of Manchester? Will these businesses engage with local suppliers and further boost the creative/digital economy? That’s what you want to know, right?

My answer? I most certainly think so.

Gone are the days where businesses are seeking creative suppliers within just London- we can certainly vouch for that. Shopping outside of London is fast becoming the preference when looking for marketing agencies. In short, Manchester is currently the place in the UK where you’re most likely to get a great service, tangible results and save a lot of money on fees. And all it requires is a perfect brief.