Manchester has a thriving technology sector and a particularly active community. This was the first of the tech events I have attended and I wasn’t disappointed.
The event began with a showcase of four startups based in Manchester, who talked about their journeys in getting their businesses off the ground.
Kirk Ryan is the Founder and CEO of K-Safe, technology which is fitted into the helmets of motorcyclists to alert emergency services in the event of an accident.
Cesar Pereira is the Founder and CEO of Gama, a company that provides the data for analyzing global product cycles with the aim of increasing revenue.
Adam Ward is Co-founder and CEO of Airtime Rewards, a startup selling new payment processing technology, which is in the process of moving offices to London.
Andrew Ko is the Co-founder and CEO of Personalyz and TopicDNA, companies which provides social media profiling for advertising companies.
It was interesting to hear from north-based startups, although I was disappointed that there wasn’t a single woman on the panel. Having come from London’s women in tech scene, I’ve gotten used to lots of excited women airing their views.
I appreciate that BusinessCloud is demystifying tech for a ‘business’ audience, according to their website, so they are already trying to untangle an existing set of assumptions and biases about the industry. But I’m concerned they are perpetuating an unhelpful image of tech as a boys’ club.
This lack of women was rendered all the more ironic when I realised that BusinessCloud’s magazine provided on my chair included a main feature which showcased the top 100 women in tech.
They also didn’t really talk that much about the future of Manchester’s digital scene. It was more of a showcase of various Manchester startups, which I suppose is something to be grateful for.
Perpetuating unhelpful images
The north in general suffers from a lack of attention and funding from the tech industry, so to expect that there would be gender diversity on the panel is probably too much to ask.
But seeing as this was supposed to be an event about the future of digital of Manchester, I would hope that future includes women.
I hope that next time they can include at least one woman on their panel, which I’m sure wouldn’t be too difficult in a city as vibrant for tech as Manchester (although having checked out their next upcoming event, it’s not looking good).
I’m looking forward to going to some more events soon, though.
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