Lots of our companies here at MSP were taking part in #Movember so we decided to hold a little bake sale - or, as we rather grandly called it, “The Great MSP Movember Bake Off” - in order to help the mo brothers and sisters.
We had some amazing entries, including a fabulous tiramisu, which technically isn’t baked but was so delicious we let the chef off, and lots of people popped by to donate generously.
Everyone got in the spirit and the free stick on moustaches were worn with glee, sometimes to slightly sinister effect.
A HUGE thank you to all those who got baking or bought some cake and a big well done to everyone who manfully grew a ‘tache over the month.
Manchester Science Park now has six bikes available for your use, free of charge!
Meeting in town? Get on your bike! Need to pop to the shops? Get on your bike! With helmets, locks and safety lights provided you’re all set to get pedalling.
Three women’s and three men’s bikes are available in various sizes. The bikes are Claud Butler hybrid and can be used on or off road. All bikes have lights and locks and helmets will be provided.
To borrow a bike, call one of the MSP reception team on 0161 226 1000 to check availability and book. Bikes can be borrowed in hour long blocks so just estimate how long you’ll need it for and book for that duration. We ask that all cyclists wear helmets and make sure to securely lock the bike up using the kit provided.
Over the last month, the Manchester International Innovation Centre on our Corridor site has filled up pretty quickly with new businesses including The Online Dry Cleaning Services, Ark Talent Group, Bionow and the Australian Department of Regional Development and Lands.
They join existing companies Bio-Analytical Technologies, Cobbetts LLP, Townson Associates, Protime WFM, Realfresh TV Ltd, Exleaz Consulting, iGrow Agritec and Sequant Technologies.
To welcome everyone, the centre held a little social with a selection of home baked mini Victoria sandwich cakes, florentines and biscuits. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to socialise and network with other members of the msp community.
It was very successful and we’re thinking of holding a wider Great MSP Bake Off so all our occupiers can get involved! And we can have more delicious cake. :-)
The property news press today was dominated by a mystery project called “Tomorrow” and a highly confidential brief on behalf of an unnamed collaboration of global companies, which until now, has simply been known in the property world as “Project Digital”.
‘Project Digital’ involves this collaboration of companies taking space in 20 Manchester buildings, totalling 180,000 sq. ft. in preparation for the launch, each with a 10-year commitment. Announced along with the official name was a shortlist of the sites and we are proud and delighted to say that Manchester Science Park was among them. From the press release: “Each site will host ground-breaking technology that will enable local firms to explore and access business solutions, knowledge and data in an intuitive and interactive format that is completely innovative and unprecedented. The technology will be linked across all 20 buildings to facilitate collaborative problem solving, new product/service development and commercial innovation.”
We can’t say any more than this at the moment (heck, we don’t even know any more at the moment!) but what we can say is how utterly thrilling this is for the science park to be part of such a revolutionary, innovative project that so perfectly matches our own ambitions of bringing companies together and helping them grow.
It’s all about connectivity – in all senses of the word – and this is something MSP specialises in. We can offer our companies 100mb optical fibre broadband at a ridiculously low price, thanks to an arrangement our friends at Melbourne, which means companies can work harder, faster, stronger on a global level. But we never undervalue the importance of face to face connections and work hard to facilitate collaborations and connections among our occupiers and with our networks and the networks of our partners and shareholders.
It is fantastic to see a project like this come to a city like ours. We’re as excited as everyone else to get the full reveal on ‘Tomorrow’ and we hope all the companies on our site as are proud as we are that Manchester Science Park is part of it.
We have a guest blog from one of our tenant companies, Liquid Bronze, today! They’ve recently taken their product, Malinko, global and wanted to share their experience.
Some thoughts on going global…
Hello! I’m Antony and I work for Liquid Bronze, a software house that produces a product called Malinko – a scheduling and CRM programme that allows companies to organise workforces effectively and with the minimum of fuss. We like to say that we free businesses from the shackles of the whiteboard.
We’ve recently taken the decision to make the Malinko software globally available, rather than only offering it in the UK. We wanted to blog about this because, as a small northern startup, we like to share our experiences with the rest of the tech community in the hope that others will do the same – we can only get stronger if we learn from each other. But, I digress.
Malinko is cloud based, which means our customers can access the software from anywhere in the world. So why didn’t we make the software globally available right from the start? It solves problems that are just as relevant in Buenos Aires as in Bolton.
The answer is that, through the combined experience of the team, we’d learned some lessons about how to roll out and develop a new product as a small start up – which we want to share here.
1. Does it work?
It might seem obvious, but if you are going to offer a product around the world, it has got to work around the world. For a long time, we took a look at the time zone issue and thought, “eek! That is incredibly complicated!” There was the whole issue of the server being in one time zone, the user being in another, and what if they moved from one time zone to another for a job? It got very confusing. Then we suddenly realised that it doesn’t matter what time zone you are in. 10am for you is 10am for you and the system would not need to have any concept of your time zone. If you are moving from time zone to time zone then you can make the manual adjustment accordingly. Anyway, as our target market is micro businesses upwards, there is not going to be much demand for global travelling.
2. Get it right
Just because you can do something – should you? Some say dive in, but with a small team like ours we had limited resources to firefight if things went wrong, never mind if things went wrong at 4am in the morning across the other side of the world. So we decided to invest a lot of time into getting the software to a place we were confident to roll out in beta and use our early client base to get key feedback from. We also learned how much we had to be involved to help with any problems and gradually managed to automate solutions to the most common issues.
It’s also worth mentioning that the cloud technology – integral to us offering the service internationally - was not as strong or secure as it s now when we first launched Malinko. Amazing what can happen in a few years.
3. What would we want?
If you were going to buy a new gadget, spending a lot of money on it, wouldn’t you be pleased if you could take it home and put it through its paces, see if it matched with your lifestyle and was easy to use? We would (take note Apple…). And we knew, as a small company, that this went doubly in business – particularly over the last few years when companies have had to husband their resources carefully. So we introduced the ‘try before you buy’ 30 days free offer which has gone down really well. And we ask ourselves ‘would we want this?’ when considering other product and marketing developments.
We’ve got to a stage where the product is working well, our customers rarely have any issues and we’ve been able to automate our helpdesk to a certain extent. So we want to expand our reach. We think we have a good, scalable model in place. But to grow we need more people. To get more people we need more customers. So it all comes down to people/power – the power of the purchaser and the performance of our people. (How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood? Wow, that’s even hard to type.) Ultimately it is our relationships with our customers and prospective customers that will allow us to grow – but this relationship will only flourish if we are selling a great service. And to do that, we need talented employees who enjoy working for us.
It ties in with the ‘would we want this?’ philosophy. We need to keep thinking of everything from a human perspective.
So there we go. And here we are. Going global. Wish us luck!
We love to share knowledge – please let us know of any good business lessons you’ve learned in the process of developing new products or trading internationally.
GUEST POST: Ruth Devlin and Fritzi Wemheuer of Judge & Howard share their top tips from their workshop on May 15 at MSP:
‘What is news? How the media works and how to get your business on a journalist’s radar.’
Innovative businesses like the ones we met at MSP have many fantastic news stories to share, but too often they either don’t know it or don’t know how to go about it. Here’s a quick summary of what news is, how it’s made and how to reach journalists.
24 hour news Even in the age of social media, most news still goes via a journalist’s desk. Staffing cuts and rolling online 24 hour news mean that journalists are often slaves to their computers, keeping abreast of minute by minute newsfeeds, online news sites, Twitter, Bloggers.
Reporters on scientific and technology titles often work across several titles owned by the same publisher. These days, journalists are really stretched – churning out two or three stories a day and at the same time, they have a lot of news to choose from. Specialist technology journalists get up to 100 emails a day.
Earned versus paid for ‘Earned media’ - getting a journalist to write about you or your products instead of buying advertising space - has several advantages:
1. It’s more credible – because it comes from an independent source. 2. It’s more affordable – because it’s free. 3. It’s more powerful – because it’s a story that people choose to read
The three Rs Successful news outlets live by three rules – it’s worth keeping them in mind if you want to get your stories at the top of the news agenda.
readable – it’s written in a language and style that appeals to readers – meet them on an equal level
relevant – it’s tailored to your readers’ interests, everyday lives and jobs. Emphasise the human angle - what does this mean for my potential clients?
resonant – it has something fresh and new to say – in short, it’s worth reading.
Top tips Keep these in mind when writing news about your business:
• Show why it’s relevant to readers – use case studies • Explain and give context using simple examples or scenarios • Provide figures – journalists love stats • Provide good pictures – they help sell the story • Have all the facts at hand – make it easy for the journalist • Provide a quote – and a media-friendly spokesperson from your business
For more advice, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Science Parks is a vibrant innovation hub, home to a lively community of knowledge based businesses. We have hotdesks, office and lab workspace, all partnered with free business support services including a free PR service, access to universities and on-site events and seminars.
We have flexible packages to suit all needs.Get in touch to find out more