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Manchester’s digital economy is booming and small businesses are a significant part of that. They are the layer of the ecosystem that delivers innovation, new ideas and valuable services to the wider industry and beyond.

The growth of the industry is great news for all of our businesses and everyone should benefit, it is important though to recognise that the landscape is changing with big businesses and brands springing up or opening offices here. With bigger brands comes bigger budgets and the ability to capture headlines and create a profile and presence that smaller companies struggle to match.

For the growth of our industry to continue long term it must be sustainable and thriving small businesses are key to that, they are more recession-proof, resilient and adaptable to change than their larger counterparts.

This group has been created to specifically support and represent the interests of businesses employing 2 - 30 people, the agenda and priorities will be determined at the first meeting. The group is chaired by Hilary Stephenson, Managing Director of Sigma and a Board Member of Manchester Digital.

Whilst the remit of the forum is yet to be formally agreed we have put together some example areas of interest:

Develop a strategy for how we ensure that the needs of small businesses are properly understood and supported by local/national government.

Lobby big businesses, both private and public, to improve procurement processes that create better opportunities for smaller businesses to engage.

Encouraging practice amongst bigger businesses that supports and promotes the growth of smaller businesses within the ecosystem.

Create a promotional plan that draws attention to the work and contribution that small businesses make to the ecosystem/community and raises the profile of those businesses.


Benefits of participation


  • Access to shared data
  • Networking with other like-minded businesses
  • Opportunity to improve the environment for smaller businesses including yours 
  • Input into Manchester Digital policy


Commitment needed to join the Forum

  • Must run or hold a senior decision-making role in a digital/tech business with between 2 - 30 employees
  • Be prepared to be an active participant
  • Contribute expertise and experience
  • Attend three meetings per year
  • Take ownership of actions
  • Share best practice
  • Get feedback on priorities
  • Recruit people to support the priority work streams and action 


Interested in joining the small business constituency and shaping the digital industry in our region? 

Get in touch