Greater Manchester Tech 50: Top 10 revealed in our list celebrating city region’s thriving digital sector


The Greater Manchester Tech 50’s top ten has been revealed as our week celebrating the region’s thriving sector comes to a close.

Today, EY, BusinessLive and the Manchester Evening News have announced the firm coming out top of our list highlighting the city region’s biggest players in the tech field.

That accolade has gone to TalkTalk, with the broadband, TV and mobile provider’s turnover soaring above all others in our Tech 50 list.

READ MORE: How we compiled our Greater Manchester Tech 50 list

The list has been released ahead of a special roundtable discussion to be held this morning from 10am and set to be attended by a panel of top industry experts.

The expert panel for the event will be:

  • Victoria Price, EY

  • Liam May, NorthEdge

  • Elan Raja, SCAN Computers

  • Matthew Scullion, Matillion

  • Vikas Shah MBE

  • Naomi Timperley, Tech North Advocates

  • Neil Tolley, Fourteen IP

  • Chi-chi Ekweozor, Assenty and the Female Tech Founder group

Cick here to sign up

Building up to that, we have unveiled the Greater Manchester Tech 50 list in five parts. It began on Monday, when Stockport-based wearable dust monitoring device maker Trolex and Bolton-based telecoms specialist Firstcom were named among numbers 50-41.

Matillion picking up their Salford Business School Turnover Under £5m winning trophy at the 2018 Manchester Evening News Business Awards. The firm listed number 34 in our Greater Manchester Tech 50

Then, on Tuesday, we saw a top games developer and prominent cloud firm included in numbers 40 to 31.

On Wednesday, MediaCityUK-based Dock10 – the filming location and post-production site for huge TV shows including Match of the Day – were named in our 30 to 21 list, alongside Covid testing and molecular diagnostics group Yourgene Health.

Then, on Thursday, Godel, K3 and Cloud Technology Solutions were named as the countdown hit numbers 20 to 11.

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As part of the list, each day we are featuring comment, analysis and advice from EY’s team of experts. Today, directors from EY discuss how a stronger workforce drivers a stronger recovery, which you can read below.

Here, our Tech 50 list reaches its climax – with the top 10 unveiled:

10. Ikonic Technology Ltd

At number 10 in our Greater Manchester Tech 50 is Heywood-based Ikonic Technology. The IT distributor, which has offices throughout the EU, offers services such as storage, networking, 3D printing and hardware.

End date for latest accounts: December 31, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £80,587,952; £72,419,584; £67,440,808

9. Zen Internet Ltd

This Rochdale-based outfit is a provider of home and business broadband. Founded in 1995 “after a drink in the pub”, its turnover for the 12 months to September 2020 rose from £76m to £82m. In 2019, it announced its intention to challenge the “big four” telecoms providers after securing a £20m financing deal.

End date for latest accounts: September 30, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £82,068,544; £76,033,952; £71,122,360

8. AJ Bell Plc

AJ Bell Plc, a constituent of the FTSE 250, is a Manchester giant providing online investment platforms and stockbroker services. Also formed back in 1995, the firm’s assets under administration surpassed £65bn for the first time earlier this year.

Andy Bell of AJ Bell

End date for latest accounts: September 30, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £126,749,000; £104,902,000; £89,691,000

7. Nycomm Holdings Ltd

Nycomm Communications Group is the largest independent communications supply specialist in the UK with a turnover of over £130m. Established in 1981, the firm, whose HQ is in Agecroft, works with big brands like Panasonic, Samsung, BT and Microsoft.

End date for latest accounts: December 31, 2019

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £131,255,808; £130,393,136; £121,010,616

6. BluJay Topco Ltd

Trading under BluJay Solutions, the firm provides computer software and services for managing supply chains. Headquartered in MediaCityUK, its services are used by over 6,000 companies in over 100 countries. Last week, US firm E2open completed its acquisition of BluJay – after our Tech 50 list was compiled.

End date for latest accounts: March 31, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £135,440,192; £123,879,920; £109,591,768

5. Scan Computers International Ltd

Scan claims to be the UK’s leading supplier of computer hardware and PC components. Based in Bolton, established over 30 years ago and with six sub-brands, it supplies businesses, higher education and consumers.

End date for latest accounts: June 30, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £151,027,840; £130,110,893; £130,976,066

4. Verastar Ltd

The firm provides water, energy, telecoms, broadband, mobile, insurance and payments services to more than 160,000 small businesses in the UK. With a core customer base of small business owners in retail, hospitality and beauty sectors, the Sale-based organisation announced in March that it is ramping up recruitment.

End date for latest accounts: April 30, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £176,386,000; £165,952,992; £139,299,008

3. NCC Group Plc

Spinningfields-based information assurance firm NCC Group makes third place in our Tech 50 list. A leading global cyber security advisor, the firm claims to be known for its “expert solutions” enabling individuals, businesses and society to thrive. Service areas cover verification, cyber security consulting and managed services – with over 15,000 clients worldwide.

End date for latest accounts: May 31, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £263,700,000; £250,700,000; £233,200,000

2. Auto Trader Group Plc

A FTSE 100 constituent and one of five tech unicorns born in Manchester, classified advertising business Auto Trader is the UK’s number one site for buying and selling new and used cars. Founded in 1975 by John Madejski, the city centre-based firm said in June it was confident for the future despite a £100m drop in its revenue in accounts that have not yet been published on Companies House.

Auto Trader is headquartered in Manchester
Auto Trader is headquartered in Manchester

End date for latest accounts: March 31, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £368,900,000; £355,100,000; £330,100,000

1. TalkTalk Telecom Group Ltd

Television, telecoms, internet and mobile networks services provider TalkTalk has finished number one in our Greater Manchester Tech 50 list. With turnover of around £1bn for the last three years soaring above all its city-based competitors, it is the clear winner of our list celebrating the city region’s biggest players in the tech field.

The firm was founded as a subsidiary of the Carphone Warehouse back in 2003 before demerging as a standalone company in 2010.

The company provides landline, broadband, TV and mobile services to more than four million customers and operate Britain’s biggest unbundled broadband network, covering 96% of the population.

TalkTalk's Salford headquarters
TalkTalk’s Salford headquarters

It supplies services to consumers through the TalkTalk brand, to businesses through TalkTalk Business and by wholesaling to resellers.

In 2018, it was announced that the provider was to move its HQ from London to Salford, with hundreds of roles relocating.

In October 2020, Tosca IOM revealed a bid for TalkTalk which valued the company at £1.1bn.

After being approved by its board and shareholders, the deal completed on Monday, March 15, when TalkTalk’s shares on the London Stock Exchange were cancelled.

Here’s everything you need to know about the telecoms giant.

End date for latest accounts: March 31, 2020

Turnover for latest three years (most recent first): £957,259,008; £1,014,812,032; £1,044,628,992

Georgina Knockton, EY People Change and Transformation Director

Despite the many business challenges brought about by the global pandemic UK tech employment grew by 40% in the past two years with nearly 3 million jobs created.

However, while growth in the sector appeared to be unaffected, trying to rapidly scale a business whilst your people are working from home during the pandemic has presented significant challenges, write Georgina Knockton, EY People Change and Transformation Director; Rhian Roberts, EY People Advisory Director and Suzannah Crookes, EY People Advisory Director.

Many scale-ups put collaborative culture at the core of their company identity and have historically relied on face-to-face interactions to enhance this culture. Activities such as teaming and coaching, building new services and solutions to develop their business proposition, recruiting and onboarding have all been done in person.

Whilst many might assume that start-ups and tech businesses would have easily been able to switch to home working from an infrastructure and technology perspective, it’s difficult to replicate the collaboration required in a fast paced, high growth business while working remotely, without some proactivity. Of course, there have been benefits to home-working too.

“Working from anywhere” has meant that organisations can attract and secure talent they otherwise may not have. Remote collaboration and mobility gives companies a wealth of opportunity to source talent, and it’s not surprising that 82% of tech CEOs (Source – 23rd EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer survey) agree that it has changed how they view their future state operating model. Furthermore, many companies are now adopting formal work from anywhere global policies enhancing the ability to procure talent globally.

More than half (54%) of employees said they would consider leaving their job post COVID-19 if they are not afforded flexibility in where and when they work, according to EY’s 2021 Work Reimagined Employee report, which surveyed more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries to get a better view of how the world’s workforce wishes to work post-pandemic.


Talent remains front of mind for companies, with 91% of tech CEOs indicating that employees have influence on their strategy reviews

We’ve learnt in the last 18 months that we need to work differently. The people agenda, and new ways of working in a post COVID-19 world, will enable business to scale and develop effectively whilst building organisational resilience. Tech companies must rethink their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to clearly focus on remote and hybrid working models, taking an innovative approach to how and where people work in future.

This serves to attract top talent with the critical skills, knowledge, experience, and capabilities to drive outcomes and align employee experience to the organisation’s Mission, Vision, Purpose and Values, resulting in improved business performance. Not only is it important to attract and retain top talent, but a strong EVP will also address the requirement for enabling tools and technologies that are critical for success.

An appropriately structured reward strategy should run alongside the EVP, to assist in recruitment and retention. Equity incentives can be highly effective in promoting employee engagement and productivity whilst aligning shareholder and workforce interests and potentially enhancing overall reward without significant initial cash outlay.


Whilst companies look to enhance their ability to attract talent, compliance with various laws and regulations is key. Non compliance can be costly. The ability to work cross border as an employer requires diligence towards obligations in respect of tax, employer reporting and right to work/immigration checks (amongst other things). Companies should be prepared and understand what their obligations may be.

In implementing working from anywhere policies, whether domestic or international, companies must also consider their remuneration strategy. Benchmarking pay against peers in different locations may not achieve equity within the workforce and alternative pay structure may need to be required. However, that ability to receive pay equitable to those in other locations may also be a key lever in attracting talent. Understanding the drivers around adopting a work from anywhere approach is fundamental in achieving success in this area.

Join the EY community and find out what your peers around the world think on the Work Reimagined Leaders Forum.

Why EY?

People are the key to a business’ success and EY’s People Advisory Services team advise on everything from planning development programmes and remuneration packages, to efficiently managing global secondments and digitising workflows. Our services help you to make changes that create better ways of working. To discuss further then please reach out to Georgina Knockton, Rhian Roberts and Suzannah Crookes.

Sign up to Friday’s virtual roundtable event here and subscribe to our BusinessLive North West newsletters here to receive our write up of the special event, next week.

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