Recently, we sat down with Martyn Collins, Digital City Festival Director from Prolific North, an independently-owned publishing and events company based in Manchester, to chat about their decision to move to Accelerate Places and the challenges, highs and lows they face as they’ve grown from a startup in 2013 to an established leader in news and events for the media, marketing and creative sectors in the North.

Although the company is relatively young, they’re run by a senior management team with a huge wealth of experience between them and a clear mission; to keep the North’s digital, creative, tech and media sector up to date with high-quality news, events, awards and networking opportunities.

They recently chose their new home here at Accelerate Manchester, because the space they shared with a digital agency was getting a little crowded. They needed a fresh, modern space with plenty of desks for their growing team and as Martyn put it “the promise of a free beer on a Friday was too alluring to resist”.

This year has been impressive for Prolific North as they’ve gone from strength to strength. One highlight is the Prolific North Awards, which featured 27 categories and saw over 700 attendees at the ceremony. Categories including ‘Best Digital Agency of the Year’ (large and small) and ‘Content Team of the Year’ were designed to celebrate the fantastic work done by the North’s booming marketing and creative sectors.

Next year looks set to be even bigger and better for the company. They’re planning the Digital City Festival which is due to take place between the 9-13 March 2020 here in Manchester. This global showpiece event will profile Manchester as a leading Digital City and hopefully become an annual event for the sector to gather every year to connect, innovate and grow.

When asked what he likes most about Accelerate Places, Martyn talked enthusiastically about the friendly atmosphere. “Visitors like coming here and appreciate the surroundings and warm welcome”. He said that the meeting rooms are a great aspect to the space and that they use them often. As a side note, he was also personally appreciative to witness our recent purge on people who don’t use spoons responsibly!

Ten years from now, Martyn expects Prolific North will still be going strong, helped of course by robots, warmer weather and self-cleaning spoons.

To finish on a fun note, we asked Martyn a quick-fire round of questions:

What would your specialist subject on Mastermind be?

Have any of you got a claim to fame?
Paul McCartney sat next to me for my graduation photo.

What is the dumbest way you’ve been injured?
I injured my neck playing rugby and went off the pitch. Ten minutes later I went back on the pitch and finished the game. Later on still, it transpired that I had broken my neck!

Any weird phobias, how did they start?
I hate dirty spoons (have I mentioned this?). This is a fairly recent condition caused by irresponsible spoon users within the office although fortunately, Accelerate Places are on the case!

Martyn is the Festival Director for Manchester’s Digital City Festival – a week-long showcase of everything the Digital sector has to offer ambitious and high-growth businesses.

A successful businessman with Board level experience alongside and within international companies both in the UK and abroad. Martyn has held senior commercial and business development roles in tech startups, fast-growth web development agencies, and global IT firms.

As Exhibition Director of eCommerce Show North, he was responsible for the biggest-ever gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside London. His ambition for Digital City Festival is to shine a global spotlight on Manchester as one of Europe’s largest creative, digital and technology clusters.