As we opened the doors to our Manchester flagship earlier this week, we’re proud to welcome Liz Scott, Proud Mancunian and Head of Entrepreneur Engagement at Tech Nation to our global Ambassador network.
A highly respected authority within the North West tech scene, Liz has spent the past few years supporting and empowering tech entrepreneurs UK wide.
We caught up with Liz to talk about her journey into tech, the challenges facing Manchester entrepreneurs, and her big hopes for the future.
On getting into the industry
“After a degree in business and marketing at university, I hedged my bets and joined the global consulting firm, EY. My logic was that I could support and get an inside look at different businesses and maybe that would help me figure out what I actually wanted to do when I grew up.
Three years ago, the firm was starting to look at how best to stay relevant and I put my hands up for a new role. It meant I needed to understand emerging technologies, product development and digital-first business models. I got to turn some cool ideas into commercially viable businesses within EY, take the lead on a super interesting innovation culture initiative, and sit with the boards of a whole host of businesses who were also interested in what industry 4.0 might mean for them. And just like that, after 15 years in finance, I realised where I wanted to spend the rest of my career…”
On challenges in the North
“I hate to sound predictable but there continues to be challenges with funding and talent. I have seen an improvement in investment in recent years. We’ve got more institutional investors who really understand tech: Praetura Ventures and Beringea. We’ve also got funds like KM Capital, from the family behind Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing, who are really putting both funding and expertise back into the ecosystem. However, there’s still limited options around the seed stage. I’ve also heard from founders that access to information from investors and around funding options could be a lot better.
And we’re all aware of the national digital talent shortage. Having the likes of Code Nation and North Coders training up developers really has helped build out the talent pipeline. However, we’re going to need to get creative from here on in about how we grow that talent, especially as Manchester-born businesses will need huge numbers of people (especially senior hires) to fulfill their growth ambitions and scale.”
On hopes for the future
“Manchester’s shown over the last five years how quickly huge amounts of progress can be made. We’re now a really well developed tech ecosystem and I’m expecting to see an influx of larger scale tech companies. The physical spaces being developed in new districts like Ancoats, Mayfield and Enterprise City will give them an exciting new base and access to the tech community.
I’m hoping to see Manchester leading the way on addressing the digital skills shortage. Both in terms of what gets done for young people in our schools and colleges, but also in addressing the more immediate gap of people already in the workforce.”
On our new accelerator hub
“I’m proud that Huckletree has chosen Manchester as their first expansion in the UK outside of London.
Manchester needs spaces that provide real support for the founders who base themselves there and I know that Huckletree can provide this in spades – both through their community and network of global ambassadors.”
Huckletree Ancoats brings together digital lifestyle, media and tech businesses to grow and to drive industry change.
Membership is open: join us today.