“It takes collaboration across a community to develop better skills for better lives.”
Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said this in 2017. Businesses have always needed communities to thrive but, in the internet age, our need for human connection is more pertinent than ever. In Brighton we’re blessed to have a surfeit of progressive individuals bringing like-minded companies together – all for the greater good. Here’s some of the best.
BrightonSEO takes over the Brighton Centre twice a year and it’s reassuringly popular – they get 4000 attendees at each conference with 6000 applications for the 2000 free tickets for September's event. Conceived by founders as a chance to put a Brightonian spin on the traditional SEO marketing and networking event, it curates talks about the latest and greatest advancements in all things optimization, plus a roving nighttime schedule that ensures attendees get to know each other outside the conference hall.
According to 2017’s Diversity Report, the tech industry hires just 17% women and 17% BAME employees. Numbers of developers are even more unbalanced: a recent survey found just 11% to be female. Codebar, originally founded in London in 2013 but with a thriving Brighton branch, seeks to address this with free weekly workshops where attendees who don’t fit the hirsute, white-guy developer stereotype can work on development projects. Crucial for skills development and casual networking, they’re busting tired boundaries, session-by-session.
According to the 2018 Tech Nation report, Brighton’s digital and tech industries turned over £574m in 2017 and Wired Sussex is an integral part of this brave new world. With a dizzying array of workshops, clubs and networking opportunities, they provide a fulcrum around which the region’s best digital talent can move. Through the Fuse Box hub they also provide a dynamic R&D space for tech visionaries and uber brains, with their Arts Driva accelerator supporting upcoming digital artists on six-month residencies..
The Brighton Chamber of Commerce has over 500 members and brings together the city’s business people with around 10 events a month – they include everything from networking breakfasts to social media masterclasses to talks from successful CEOs from Brighton and beyond. They also curate the annual Brighton Summit conference and have started the community-minded Member Hour initiative. Members offer 60 minutes of their time for another Chamber of Commerce cohort on a specialist subject – whether it’s PAYE or Photoshop.
Brighton Digital Women was founded in 2015 when Rachel Finch put a callout on Twitter, asking if any local female digital workers wanted to meet. Four years later Rachel and co-founder Allegra Chapman are running meet-ups and nurturing a caring community that seeks to help the business and personal lives of its members, whilst righting the gender imbalances that dog the digital industry.
TEDx Brighton is organised by PLATF9RM member and certified Lord o’ Content, Toby Moore. They host an annual event at Brighton Dome and this October will see 1,500 attendees and 20 speakers converge for a day of talks around this theme – “the moments when our lives change forever”. Run by a team of business-minded volunteers who want to inspire Brightonians to loftiest heights, it’s a key part of the local calendar.
The Good Tech Conference is a local event that brings together 200 technologists who want to use their skills, knowledge and network to affect tangible social change. Focusing on inclusion, diversity and the ethical application of technology, it promises a day of talks from the country’s finest technological minds, as well as the chance to mingle with other like-minded folk who think that, contrary to popular belief, screens and data aren’t the enemies of all humanity.
She Says is a global network for women in the creative industries, set up in 2007. It has over 40,000 members worldwide and a dynamic Brighton branch run by Rifa Thorpe-Tracey – mentor and director of We Spring Forward festival. They are curating an event for 2019’s Brighton Digital Festival called “You OK, hun?”, taking place on the 17th October in The Grounds @ Hove Town Hall. It will explore issues around female health and is
an inclusive must-do event for any gals (or guys!) in the creative biz.
Wait! Come back! In under three years we’ve built a business community of over 800 people. We’ve every profession under the sun amongst our members – graphic designers, accountants, writers, marketers, cleaners, artists, PR kings and kweens. We’ve curated or hosted approximately 350 events – these include everything from Walkshops, to epic Socials, to our monthly Content Clubs and conferences. We honestly don’t enjoy tooting our own winded instrument, but we think (hope!) we’re doing our bit for the local business gang.