A cohort of ten technology-focused firms from Greater Manchester have attended Web Summit, a global summit in Lisbon, through a programme to encourage the global expansion of GM SMEs.

GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is accompanying the businesses as part of its Global Scale-up Programme, designed to foster international trade ambitions among regional SMEs.

Web Summit, hailed as “the best technology conference on the planet” by Forbes magazine, runs from 4th – 7th November this year, uniting CEOs, fast-growing start-ups, policymakers and even heads of state, to discuss the future direction of technology.

Through their place on the Global Scale-up programme, Greater Manchester businesses Mercarto, The Link App and Spinr have exhibited at the sold-out event.

On the first international visit as part of the programme, the Hub is also hosting a series of workshops for its Greater Manchester cohort, focussed on international tax, Silicon Valley, corporate finance and pitch techniques.

KPMG will host these fringe events, also welcoming delegates from corresponding London and Leeds cohorts.

Richard Jeffery, Director of Growth at GC Business Growth Hub, said: “With the expansion of direct routes from Manchester Airport and continuing inward investment from international growth markets, there has never been a better time for Greater Manchester businesses to think on a global level.

Alongside the international visit, the cohort will also benefit from thorough onboarding to refine business plans, bootcamp sessions to share challenges and successes with peers, and an international growth sprint with trained coaches to set international priorities.

Sean Brown, CEO and Founder of cohort member Mercarto, said: “Attending this year’s Web Summit will provide a unique opportunity to engage with our global customers, explore what international competitors are doing well, and to make valuable connections that may lead to future collaborations.

“Connectivity and sustainability are two of Mercarto’s fundamental business principles. Our internationalisation strategy will be key in connecting to new markets and customers, as well as ensuring the sustained growth of our business in the long term.

The Global Scale-up programme will re-open for applications in 2020.