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This Year at Wired Sussex ...

Christmas 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 and some of the work we’ve undertaken over the past 12 months.

2014 saw 473 new members join Wired Sussex. That’s nearly 10 every single week.
If you’re not a member already why not make 2015 the year you get involved; not only will you gain access to a wealth of business support, but you’ll be joining a 2,000+ strong network and doing your bit to help represent the cluster. Simply put, the more members we have the more effective we can be working on your behalf; when speaking up for our collective interests with the government, the higher education sector, and local and regional authorities.

It seems there has never been a better time to work (or recruit) in the region with over 1300 creative & digital jobs advertised on the Wired Sussex site alone this past year. We also saw a record number of visitors; the jobs page attracted on average over 40,000 unique views per month.

Projects Board – We carried 423 projects, giving new opportunities every day for our members to find potential clients and pitch for work.

150 paid internships for the sector  - We’re now half way through our Intern Placement Programme, connecting companies with new talent in the sector by offering interns to companies for 6 week grant-supported placements.
Interested in how the scheme can help your business? You can find more information on the website and do get in touch if you’ve any questions.

This year we ran over 20 events for our members, covering everything from informal networking activities to workshops, conferences and more.
Highlights included:

- Digital Media & Tech Jobs Fair – this was the biggest sector-specific jobs fair to ever hit Brighton. It attracted over 1200 people and featured 35 exhibiting companies, a series of talks from industry experts, workshops, and 1-2-1 CV surgeries.

- CDIT Open Studios – For 5 days in September we helped our members showcase their businesses to the community. There were talks, workshops and chances for visitors to find out what goes on behind the scenes at some of Brighton’s most creative and innovative companies.

- Wired Sussex Members’ Xmas Meetup  – proved to be our biggest meetup yet with over 170 members coming along for some informal networking and Christmas hijinks!

- FuseBox Sessions – were a series of fortnightly guest speaker events that offered advice and support on running & growing your business.  You can watch them on our YouTube channel.
*You can find out about upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter.

Research into the cluster – In 2013 we revealed the findings of the Brighton Fuse Project; a 2-year R+D exercise that mapped and measured Brighton’s digital cluster.
The report proved massively influential, helping to raise the profile of our cluster; with the findings discussed by Government, featured in the Financial Times and presented at industry conferences.
This year we built on the success by coordinating a second phase of research focused on the Brighton freelance community. There will be an event to unveil and discuss these findings on Monday 26th January.

Brighton Digital Exchange – The Exchange is our plan to tackle the issue of poor broadband connectivity and infrastructure in Brighton.

It’s a co-operative involving Wired Sussex and 6 ISPs and broadband providers, which will enable businesses to access the speed and capacity they need.  It’s the first time something like this has been tried in the U.K, so we are learning as we go, but hope to have the exchange up and running by February next year. You can find out more about the initiative here.

Brighton Digital Festival -
  Returned in September for another month long celebration of art and digital culture.
This year saw the biggest and best festival yet, with 170 events taking place across the city and an audience of over 47,000 people.

FuseBox24  - in April  we launched a 24 week programme of start-up support for innovators from across the creative, digital and IT sector.
Participants were given 24-7 access to the FuseBox and connected with a variety of mentors who could help them shape and refine their business ideas.

Digital Catapult Centre Brighton – Last month we heard Brighton is to host one of three regional Digital Catapults with Wired Sussex as one of the key delivery partners.
It’s a bid that we worked on together with Coast to Capital LEP, the local universities and a wide range of Brighton-based digital businesses and start-ups.
The centre will be an R+D lab where SMEs, start-ups, large corporates, universities and others can come together and collaborate on innovative digital projects.
It will also give regional businesses access to 5g technologies, enabling you to stay ahead of the game, and develop and grow creatively. You can read more about the project here.

We helped our members advertise 140 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 Sussex.

The Skiff – we continued to support and resource this fantastic coworking space which is a really important asset for the local sector.

So there you have it; 365 days at Wired Sussex.
Looking at all these achievements, it’s striking that none of this would have been possible without the support, engagement and (£49!) dues that each of our members have contributed to help support us in helping you make the area such a great vibrant place to live and work.

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.

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