"How're you finding it?" is easily the most common question I've been asked since joining the team behind TechHub Manchester. "Cold - really cold," is more often than not how I usually begin my reply. But with the warm welcome and many chats over what must now be buckets' worth of tea, how could I have not thawed off by now?
The truth is that Manchester is still cold, but I've long since felt settled in here in the North. Being a 'city girl' who was born and bred in London, I did feel the apprehension of moving out of my comfort zone - quite literally - but the team behind TechHub Manchester and its members have gone out of their way to show me and tell me about Manchester and all the great stuff that not everyone gets to see. The little gems like The Koffee Pot and North Tea Power appeal to my Shoreditch side. I've also made the recent happy discovery that Home Sweet Home has some of the tastiest chips I've ever had, with just the right mix of paprika and cayenne pepper�!
Having worked with the team behind TechHub London and seen it grow from 2-3 people to more than 10 over the period of nearly 2 years, I've seen and done a lot. I'm hoping to bring my experience and London ways to the team to help them get to the big picture and quickly, but (fingers crossed) avoiding some pitfalls along the way. Talk to me about having a tour to see the space and find out what we do, applying for membership and what it includes, querying invoices and payments, what world-class events we're hosting over the next few months, or even if you have five minutes spare for a chat and want a break from staring at your screen. If you're desperate, I might even throw in a game of table tennis - just be aware that my poor aim might mean frequently running around after the ball.
Everything we're doing is to make Manchester a top 5 startup destination in Europe, so let us know if we're going the right way about it or if you have suggestions on how we can improve our offering. Help us shape future TechHubs. TechHub works because the members are willing to give constructive feedback to each other, but don't forget that we're also a young company and we love feedback, too! Whether it's an email, tweet, phone call or dropping in for a chat over a brew, I love to have people get in touch.
Being the food-lover that I am, I have to of course find a quotation from Ben Holden, MD of Cahoona, who is also the inventor of the Manchester Egg. I think it sums up Manchester quite well�:
"It's cool but it's not Shoreditch; it's gritty but it's not Glasgow�There's a balance that feels right."
Michelle Nhan, TechHub Manchester