Maya Dibley, head of programmes and partnerships at The Landing

The Landing’s Maya Dibley on supporting Greater Manchester’s digital-tech scene

Welcome to part two of Bdaily North West’s Built Environment series. This Autumn, we’re offering you key insights into the work of major players that have reshaped the region’s developed spaces.

Today we have Maya Dibley, head of programmes and partnerships for The Landing, a 53,000 sq ft innovation hub for small technology and digital businesses in Salford.

Can you give our readers a brief outline of your business and what it does?

“We’re a workspace, community, business support unit and enterprise incubator for high-growth companies, right at the head of MediaCityUK.

“We offer incredible connectivity for businesses, and user testing and prototyping labs for websites, apps, VR and tech. Eagle Lab, our partnership with Barclays, is based on the fourth floor where businesses prototype hardware, electronic circuits and casing. We have a lot of new and ongoing collaborations, including with Salford Royal Hospital and healthcare tech businesses. The Landing is hosting fantastic work and a great way to connect businesses.

“Our primary purpose is to support SMEs and we rent out space to bigger tech companies. The Landing has office space from two to 20 people, co-working space and our technical infrastructure, as well as our MediaCity location, is an internationally recognised attraction.”

What are some of the bigger North West projects you’ve been involved with previously?

“Our chief executive Jon Corner is chairing the Digital Economic Development working group for Andy Burnham’s Greater Manchester digital strategy. We’re involved with UK Fast which has just launched Tech Manchester, a private sector mentoring initiative that puts money into resource and training.

“We’re also involved in the Manchester Tech Trust, recently joined the North West innovation network which links up science parks around the region and have hosted podcasts for northern power women, aimed at getting more women into tech. It’s always busy!”

What are you working on right now?

“At the moment we are developing our in-house incubator programme which nurtures small businesses, with a view to growing the economy. Partnership working is key for us and since April we have been collaborating with 13 private sector partners, including in accountancy, recruitment and HR, to provide a delivery bootcamp and one-to-one support. This helps us to ensure that our SMEs are able to tap into local networks and investors and go for growth.

“The Landing is the flagship City Council building in MediaCityUK and part of our focus is around unlocking opportunities for the community. Youth Charter is shortly to move into our building and one of our residents is also set to launch a coding bootcamp programme for parents returning from maternity leave. Watch this space!”

What sort of economic impact do you believe your work has had on the region?

“The Landing has been at full capacity since 2013. In that time, we’ve created thousands of jobs and generated millions for the economy.

“In 2016 alone, we contributed £89.2m GVA to the UK’s digital sector. Our focus on job creation and business growth within Salford and Greater Manchester helps us to raise aspirations locally and we recently hosted FACT (Fuelling Ambitions Creatively Together), which brought eight local schools together to develop business plans to support the local community – some fantastic ideas came out of this.”

What’s most important to your business in the work you do?

“Partnerships are key for The Landing. In February this year, we partnered with PwC and UpAccelerator to deliver The Future of Health programme well, which attracted organisations from all over the UK and Europe; all the businesses involved raised funding or attracted new commissions.

“We are keen to collaborate with organisations that want to work here and offer physical space to help bring great people and work into the region. We look for engaged businesses which have the right ethos, mentality, and which are constantly evolving.”

Do you operate in partnership with other companies in the North West?

“There’s our incubator and business support partners, but also collaborative partners such as Salford Royal Hospital, Salford Council, Manchester, Salford and Lancaster Universities where we act as convener on a project.

“We also partner with UK Fast and the Manchester Corridor in Oxford Road, a smart cities demonstrator. Then we have partners where we share operation of the building, such as Barclays on Eagle Lab.”

Can you name any regional developments you’re not involved in that have caught your eye?

“Daresbury, TileYard North – Wakefield, Unilever Materials Innovation Factory… we would be really keen to look at how we can bring some of those teams into The Landing to apply business innovation commercially, and to look at how we can cross collaborate in general.”

Lastly, what is your favourite space in the North West?

Personally, I would say I would say the piazza and social areas on MediaCity, which are hugely underrated. In the summer we started to see people realise that these are fantastic places – and only 10 minutes from the centre of Manchester… there’s a whole host of eateries and bars on the waterfront, now including The Botanist and The Alchemist.

Thank you, Maya.

To take part in this series, get in touch with Bdaily North West editor Richard at richard.bell@bdaily.co.uk

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