19 August 2015

I was pleased to read this morning that Manchester has once again been named as the best city to live in in the UK, but it was certainly no surprise to me.
manchester skyline

Whilst I am an adopted Mancunian, growing up in Wales and moving to the city at 16, I believe that I have grown far more within the arms of Manchester than anywhere else in my life.

In my childhood, having grown up in Denbigh, Manchester was a big city for me, like my own version of New York, and I am immensely grateful for how the city has taken me in and nurtured both me and UKFast.

Manchester is extraordinary. It’s large and cosmopolitan enough to rival the opportunities of the capital whilst being small enough to have heart and a strong community. In many ways I see that reflected in how UKFast is as a business – large enough to accommodate any of our clients’ needs but small enough to really care.

How many cities are there like this? Where a start-up bedroom business can be nurtured enough to grow into a £250m business in just 15 years. For that reason, I see Manchester as the UK’s San Francisco, Britain’s Silicon Valley. A real hub of innovation, collaboration and community. It’s undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.

Manchester has evolved so much since I came here as a teenager that it is unrecognisable. From a red-brick town, a vibrant metropolitan hive of innovation has blossomed and it is still growing, making the most of its unrivalled location and transport links – something that London can never compete with.

Invariably in business, there are times that you must head over to the capital – it’s the financial capital of the country – and, from Manchester, it’s just a two-hour train journey away. Property rates are lower, cost of living is lower and markets are less saturated. It is a world of opportunity and that’s just from a business point of view.

From a personal point of view, although the ‘Madchester’ days may be over, the atmosphere lives on. The Northern Quarter is fast-becoming THE place to be in the North. The Quays and Media City are flourishing. The past twenty years have seen each area of Manchester continue to thrive and it isn’t slowing down.

For me, there is nowhere else like it on the planet. I met my wife here. For me, that equates to the moment that Rolls met Royce. I got my first job here, I set up my first business here and UKFast was born here.

In the global list, Manchester placed 46th missing out to Melbourne, Australia for the world top spot. We moved a step closer when we built the sandy beach at UKFast, but bringing the sunshine to rival Oz is a challenge I’m still working on. Whatever the weather though, Manchester is number one for me.

Where’s your favourite place in the world?

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