One of the main reasons I decided to join UKFast four years ago was their focus on planning for the future.

I've told many people that this is natural to the company’s co-owner and CEO Lawrence Jones and the management team here to be ambitious but realistic about long-term goals. One of these goals is the focus on skills and developing people which is why we're so heavily involved with schools and Code Clubs.

I feel as though there’s already a focus on supporting big tech companies in terms of funding and marketing etc but part of the vision has to be about helping the start-ups (and pre-start-ups).

I made a comment to someone recently that I'd love for hundreds of tech companies in three, four, 10+ years to say that part of their success journey was due to having high quality mentors from an early stage. The type of mentors that had good previous experiences in the tech industry gave helpful guidance or was just the best pair of ears to listen.

There’s currently a fantastic support network of mentors to help businesses within Greater Manchester flourish so we're working with the Business Growth Hub team to make sure that the mentors we're inviting receive the best response from us to allow them to encourage people within tech to start-up, strive, grow and survive.

The next part will be to send the elevator back down and help even more people develop tech products and services to make our lives easier for the future.

On July 11th at 5pm Tech Manchester  will be holding an event (which you can sign up for here) to discuss these points and others to make sure that the tech industry in Greater Manchester will be as good as it possibly can be.

Project lead Patricia Keating with Chris ahead of Tech Manchester's launch event

Project lead Patricia Keating with Chris ahead of Tech Manchester's launch event

Part of the evening will be to discuss what makes a good mentor, perhaps even what a mentor isn’t so there’ll be an educational spot. There’s often confusion between a mentor and a coach but they’re very different in terms of delivery and styles.

In my experience there are already some excellent mentors in the city so we have a huge opportunity to highlight them and their successes as well as adding more numbers to bolster the army of enthusiastic Mancunians.

My first experience of mentoring came as more of a shoulder to cry on from someone struggling with their job role and meeting the expectations. I did more listening than talking and simply asked a few questions based on some of the things which kept coming up, mostly around communication.

We met several times and not for too long on each occasion but I’m pleased with the results now. I’ve since mentored several people within the creative industry and each one has different challenges from business development, brand recognition and networking.

We’ll be keen to find out what the main challenges people face in the tech industry on Tuesday evening and how we can match up the right people with the most relevant experience to guide them through it.