Macclesfield – on the leading edge of digital

Until recently, my only knowledge of Macclesfield was of an unfortunately named supplies shop. And, of course, I’d heard the rumours about a Bond-villain style mansion owned by a certain global mega-agency.

But in fact, I’ve learned that Macclesfield is a burgeoning digital and creative hub.

Set amongst the leafy lanes of Cheshire, the town of Macclesfield has attracted some high-profile names such as Matmi and become an attractive choice for growing businesses like Abstraktion. It’s less than half an hour from Manchester and on the fast line to London too.

So last Wednesday, the cosy surrounds of Inca Cafe Bar played host to some of the leading digital and creative businesses in the area. My occasional cycling buddy Martin invited me and Chris Marsh down to his event Digital Edge, to meet some of the leading digital businesses and give our perspective on the future of the cloud.

Digital Edge is a fun event. About 30 of us packed out the venue, where Claire the owner was serving up local beer, cider, tasty toasties and stew. Good honest grub. And that, for me, really set the tone. Martin had asked us to serve on a ‘panel’, but essentially it was a two-way conversation throughout; an inquisitive, intelligent audience really testing our knowledge about cloud computing and debating our opinions about the future.

We were pretty conscious of turning up to an event like this and not knowing anyone, but there were friendly faces and, of course, Martin kept everything running smoothly – including plying me with some 6% cider from Somerset. And with a crowd that size, it’s actually a chance to talk to everyone that turns up, rather than whipping round quickly collecting business cards.

So is Macclesfield the new Silicon Roundabout? Well apart from the sheer fatuousness of that statement, there is something going on in the cobbled streets of this market town that’s making an impact around the world. We’ll be going back whenever we can to learn more.

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