Recent Meetings and Lobbying activities

One of our core aims (and a benefit of your membership) is to work to support the creation of a better climate for member companies and freelancers to do business in – to assist our members collectively as well as individually. To do this, we spend time explaining our members’ needs to local and national government departments who have the resources to improve business infrastructure, we talk to those from other countries interested in engaging with the sector, we meet with banks, skills providers, universities and others. I thought it might be worth going a brief outline of just some of those with whom I have been meeting recently and why.
Ultra Fast Broadband bid
To support the delivery of an effective (and hopefully winning!) bid for ultra fast broadband for Brighton, I have met with a number of key individuals including Minister for the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, the Head of UK Broadband Policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Head of Business Development at Virgin Media, The Managing Director of BT Next Generation Access, the COO of City Fibre and others. The UFB bid (which we are working on together with Brighton & Hove City Council) is due to be submitted in early September.
Skills
I accepted an offer to sit on DigitalTalent2030 group with Ian Livingstone (Eidos), Ann Morrison (Director, BBC Academy) and others to look at what the trends are which will inform future digital skills needs and how to provide for them. In addition, Wired Sussex collaborated with our partners in the One Digital Alliance (Manchester Digital and Bristol Media) to put an ‘ideas paper’ into the Sector Skills Council Creative Skillset on skills strategies for the sector. This focussed on how more resources could be provided to SME’s to enable them to own (and also share) skills development – a bottom-up and networked approach to skills provision. This paper has resulted in us being invited onto the steering group which is advising Creative Skillset on their discussions with Government.
Promoting Brighton’s digital cluster to the world
This month, I have met with the Finnish Government’s commercial attaches to talk about Brighton’s digital cluster and also with representatives from Eindhoven’s innovation team (Brainport) to begin discussing ways that the Eindhoven and Brighton cluster could collaborate.
Business Support
I sit on the board of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. This organisation develops economic strategies for the Wired Sussex area (and beyond). Through this role, I have attended various meetings to look at how the needs of the creative, digital and IT sector in this region could align with Coast to Capital’s enterprise strategies. This has included meeting with representatives from Tech City in East London to start a discussion about ways that the Tech City and Brighton clusters could gain mutual benefit from each other.
Let me know if you want and further info on any of this stuff.

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