The Landing is rebranding as HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, to scale its ambition as a pioneering hub for nurturing talent, accelerating innovation and driving prosperity across the North.
This new chapter will be the first of its kind, combining the three pillars of skills, innovation and start up all under one roof, with a focus on building a world-leading reputation in data science, AI, gaming and immersive technologies.
Based at the heart of MediaCityUK, which was recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing tech hubs that will propel the region into recovery after the pandemic, HOST will serve as a driving force to the interconnected and collaborative Salford Innovation Triangle – alongside Salford Royal Foundation Trust, with its global-leading innovation factory; Salford University, the fastest-growing University in the North West; and MediaCityUK, the creative tech and digital hub with 8,000 employees and over 250 SMEs.
IN4.0 Group took over management of the hub on 1 October 2020 with plans to build on its great pedigree, and since then it has already made several high-profile appointments and collaborations.
HOST has already established significant partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Barclays Eagle Labs, Greater Manchester AI Foundry, AI Tech North and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, mobilising the most diverse and innovative business community. Simon Benson, co-inventor of PlayStation VR, was appointed Director of Immersive Technology in November 2020.
Dr Maria Stukoff, director of the University of Salford’s Maker Space and former BBC Academy and Sony PlayStation ‘imagineer,’ recently joined the hub to foster future talent and support the development of its esports and XR immersive community.
Several more high-profile announcements are on the horizon for HOST that will further enhance its capability to help drive the region into post-pandemic job rich recovery.
A precursor to this is FreelanceHER 100, a ground-breaking 12-week accelerator programme that is currently supporting and empowering over 109 women impacted by the pandemic, to kick-start their careers as freelancers.
The five floors of the building will also be refreshed to include a state-of-the-art Innovation Lab, which will house a 24/7 security and network operations centre, dedicated to supporting SMEs with secure and scalable digital adoption and nurturing new IP in cyber and AI technology.
Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Salford City Council as we enter this landmark moment from when The Landing was first established in 2013.
“HOST, Salford’s Home of Skills & Technology, is not just a namechange, it is a representation of the hub’s mission to establish an ecosystem that supports skills, growth and innovation in the region. “Diversity, accessibility and inclusion are at the core of everything we do, and it is imperative we continue to build on these values as we enter this new chapter with HOST. We are an enabler, not just of productivity, but of prosperity for all – we may be about technology, but the benefits we bring are all about people.“
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed an extra emphasis on digital technology and skills more than ever before. Our aim in Salford is to be the UK’s leader in digital enterprise.
“HOST scaling its ambition and driving this important work forward is another piece in the jigsaw to enable us to do that. It is fostering and nurturing talent which is creating growth, opportunities and jobs that local people can benefit from. It is a very exciting time for this city.”
Debbie Brown, Strategic Director of Service Reform at Salford City Council added: “The digital sector is continuing to thrive in Salford. HOST will be the engine room to open up opportunities for residents and businesses in the city and beyond. I am delighted with the progress and look forward to working with the team on this next step of the journey.”
Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK: “MediaCityUK is constantly evolving and HOST’s ambitions in data science, gaming and immersive technologies will accelerate our position as the home of globally recognised talent and innovation. Through HOST’s inclusive approach it will make opportunities accessible and help transform visions into a reality.”