Member Sign In

Last year at Wired Sussex…

The New Year is a time to take stock and reflect on the year gone by, so with that in mind, I’d like to take a moment to look at Wired Sussex; some of the work we've undertaken and what we have achieved together in the last 12 months.

So without further ado here’s a short, but juicy list of the highlights from our year. Cue wavy TV flashback effect… ripple, ripple, ripple ...

A new team – Last year we saw big changes within the Wired Sussex camp; Rebecca, Laura and myself arrived fresh faced to take on projects, events and membership.

We also had help from a host of talented people including Fenella Tallon, Jim Byford, Eulalie Amsler, Anna Muir, Luke Phillips, Laurence Hill, Julia Franks, Bonnie Richardson, Donna Pullin, Jonathan Crawford, Jo Roberts and Joss Munro.

New members - 2012 saw 432 new members join Wired Sussex. That’s 10 every single week!
This is truly fantastic and great evidence that the region is a hotbed of creative digital & business talent.

Brighton Fuse – Together with the universities of Brighton and Sussex, we secured funding from the Research Council to undertake the most extensive research project into a creative cluster that has ever been carried out in the UK.  Brighton Fuse looks at Brighton’s creative, digital and information technology cluster (CDIT) to get a full picture of how it works and how it can be supported.

The project offers an incredible learning opportunity to analyse the growth of this cluster, and allows us to pilot schemes that further promote innovation and future economic development.

Brighton Digital Festival – We were successful in securing funding from the Arts Council England to help organise and support the Brighton Digital festival in 2012 and 2013.

Last year saw the biggest and best festival yet, with over 100 events of all shapes and sizes, taking place all over the city. This was an enormous achievement only made possible by all of the hard work and devotion of those involved. Roll on September 2013 and another chance to showcase what Brighton has to offer!

Projects Board – We carried 457 projects  – that’s new opportunities every single day for our members to find potential clients and pitch for work.

Better business broadband  - After originally being told that Brighton wasn’t big enough to even be considered for part of the Government's fund for improving the country's broadband infrastructure, we set about campaigning (alongside many others) to fight the issue and persuade them otherwise with the ‘Let Brighton Bid’ campaign.

Not only did the campaign change the Government’s mind, but our bid was successful!

It will deliver over £5m to improve our business broadband infrastructure in central Brighton, with the installation of ultrafast lines that support 100mg symmetrical capacity and extend Wi-Fi capacity across parts of the city.

Jobs Board  It seems there has never been a better time to work in the area with 1115 jobs advertised on the Wired Sussex site!

Brighton/Cherokee Nation Project – We organised a project that connected Brighton & Hove schools: Blatchington Mill School and Cardinal Newman Catholic School with two schools in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, USA: Fort Gibson Public School and Maryetta Public School.

Bridging the digital divide, this project is delivering a forward thinking cultural exchange programme that’s embedding the creative use of digital technology into the way young people learn – taking it out of ICT lessons and making it part of History, English, etc.

You can read more about the project over at the Digital Education Brighton site.

The UKTI Inward Investment Tour - This hit the Brighton shores last November with representatives and sector specialists from all around the world visiting to find out more about our brilliant digital, media & technology hub. These people sell different parts of the UK to creative and tech businesses in their home territory.

Wired Sussex was on hand to help organise the two day tour and show them around the city. It was a great opportunity to help raise Brighton’s international profile as the UK’s leading creative hub.

The Skiff –  It was an epic year for the freelance coworking space we co-manage. We doubled the size of the space, added new facilities such as a sofa area and installed faster broadband.  It’s now used by over 130 Skiff mates and digital community groups.

Events –  At the beginning of 2012 we initiated a programme of free quarterly events for our members. We held 22 different events that covered informal networking, inspirational speakers and consultation sessions.

Highlights included:

  • Open Studios 2012 which offered everyone the chance to peek behind the scenes at some of Brighton’s biggest & best digital, media & technology companies.
  • Home Brewed with Will McInnes; where members chatted with Will about his alternative approach to doing business in the 21st century and his new book Culture Shock.
  • Wired Sussex Members' Xmas Meetup that proved to be our biggest meetup yet with over 150 members who came along for some informal networking and Christmas hijinks!

Workspaces – We helped our members advertise their 110 unused workspaces free of charge. These ranged from full mod-con offices to the odd spare desk; helping to provide yet more homes and opportunities for creative companies and freelancers in Brighton.

So there you have it; 365 days at Wired Sussex.

Looking back at this list it strikes me that none of this would have been possible without the support, engagement & £49! Each of our members contributes to help make the area such a great place to live, work and be.


About the author

Kieron Cropper

Hi, I'm Head of Member Services at Wired Sussex. I help our members get the most from their membership, whether that’s the benefits of joining or you’re an existing member in need of advice.

View more posts by Kieron