Following Scale Space’s expansion to Nottingham, we spoke to James Mann, Business Expansion Specialist at Invest In Nottingham, the inward investment service responsible for promoting Nottingham as a business destination. We discussed the importance of choosing a location with the right talent pool and how collaboration is key to unlocking the next ten years of growth for the city and its scaling business community.
Quite simply, James describes Nottingham as “a proven location where spinouts succeed, and Scale Space is a fantastic addition to the infrastructure which is already here to help nurture and grow.”
Nottingham has a strong heritage as a tech and innovation powerhouse.
“Nottingham has an excellent support program, strong local talent, and it is far easier for a startup or scaleup to get noticed. The cliche of putting your head above the parapet is far easier to do in Nottingham. I think that’s why we’ve experienced such incredible growth in the last ten years,” James explains.
“We’ve seen companies such as TDX, HD decisions, Ideagen and Uni Days grow at a phenomenal pace by being based here and achieve so much in such a short period. Opportunities like Scale Space offer an opportunity for scaling companies to go on the same growth trajectories we’ve seen historically.”
James highlights talent as one of the ongoing challenges for regional UK cities. He points out that Nottingham is strong in attracting student talent, but, naturally, when they finish studying, most move back home or to London. So, attracting and retaining more working talent would be essential to help Nottingham reach its full potential.
“We are looking at how to expose graduate talent to the companies based here. Opportunities like Scale Space offer a real boon for local businesses to showcase what they do and why you don’t have to disappear back to the big cities to get opportunities: because they exist locally, right here in Nottingham.”
He highlights Invest In Nottingham’s collaboration with the two Universities and Nottingham City Council to raise awareness of career opportunities within graduate talent and break the cycle of students returning home after graduation.
“One of the consistent messages we get from alumni is how much they enjoyed their time in Nottingham, how much they loved the city as a place to live and as a place to experience. So, it seems crazy that you would want to move away from that if you understand the career opportunities.”
Nottingham is the next hotspot for FinTech Scaleups – and should be on top of their list for expansion.
“Nottingham offers comprehensive and competitive benefits, including an affordable, young, eager and committed talent pool and exceptional programs focused on supporting fast-growth tech businesses.”
“To scale successfully requires investment, and a company based here can gain visibility with potential investors probably a lot easier than in other larger cities where there is more competition. Investors expect exciting and innovative businesses to rise from Nottingham’s business community, and many keep a close eye on the city for this reason. If you are making waves, you are very likely to be spotted.”
Most importantly, Nottingham is excellently located in the heart of the country.
If you’re a company with a base in London experiencing growth, Nottingham provides an interesting option to house that growth. The cost of space in London is premium and regional cities are now very attractive from both a cost base and talent base for businesses looking to scale quickly. A great example of this is Uni Days, which has a presence in London from a customer perspective but has chosen to do most of its growth within Nottingham.
Businesses can have the best of both worlds.
Finally, we asked James about how the city will develop and grow in the future, and he shared the common goal “to promote Nottingham as a proven location for scaleups to succeed; as the top destination for a scaling company choosing to relocate or expand their UK footprint.”
But, to maintain growth and continue to attract scaling companies, Nottingham needs to shore up its infrastructure to support a strong growth trajectory for the city. Together with key stakeholders, we need to focus on talent because it is the number one priority for any business regardless of location. This is where our work with Scale Space and both universities will be a considerable advantage – providing Nottingham-based scaling companies with a unique opportunity to promote themselves and hire successfully.
Find out more about Scale Space Nottingham here.