#Croydon #TechCity July Edition – A review

By - Wednesday 24th July, 2013

As Croydon Tech City’s meteoric first six months came to an end, Pilar Nalwimba was on hand to report on the final Matthews Yard event before a summer recess


So, Thursday was my fourth visit to Croydon Tech City – dare I call myself a regular now?

Thursday was also the season finale, winding down six great months of showcasing tech natives and entrepreneurs all whilst connecting people.

“Be yourself. Iterate until awesome”

The presentations kicked off with Sarah Akwisombe, Managing Director at WeAreTheMillion. WeAreTheMillion was described as crowdfunding with a conscious. The idea is that the local community can invest in their favourite small businesses in exchange for rewards, helping them to create new income streams and thus helping to create new jobs. The catch, however – as with many crowdfunding platforms – is that if a small business doesn’t hit their investment target before a set date, they will not receive a penny of the investments made, which are returned back to each individual investor.

Sarah gave a very honest account of her journey, successes, and (best of all) failures, from musician to social entrepreneur and now social tech entrepreneur. I say “best of all” as with all the overnight successes we are all so used to hearing it was refreshing to hear her detail the trials and errors of a successful launch which included a one week delay (this happens to be a long time in launch terms). It’s instances like this, however, that Sarah pointed out actually help We Are The Million to learn and to adapt the strategy on their mission to create a sustainable model that benefits local communities. Starting out in South London (with Croydon’s own The Cronx Brewery being the first to hit their target), they aim to expand to North London by September.

After a quick short break with some complementary wine and nibbles we were then introduced to Mike Orchard, founder of Skills Hive.

Skills Hive is an online dashboard for managing virtual teams. The idea came about after Mike noticed an emerging trend for social media consultants. The thinking behind it is that Skills Hive is a great place to find resources or an extra pair of hands for your business without having to hire in extra staff.

Mike shared with the audience how he got to his lightbulb moment after regular conversations with a friend, and how he developed the concept and then soon left the comfort of his corporate job to pursue Skills Hive full time. During his presentation Mike revealed that he is part of a global task force with three other countries to solve macro-HR. I also discovered that there’s such a thing as a hackathon. Yes, like a marathon but for hacking :-s. Mike helped close the presentation with one of the nights standout quotes “Be yourself. Iterate until awesome”.

So with six months complete and another six months just around the corner, here are six key things I’ve learnt from the first season of Croydon Tech City:

1. You don’t have to be a tech geek or to work in tech to enjoy and benefit from Croydon Tech City. I currently fit in the non-tech category and have so far enjoyed each one.

2. It’s all about collaboration… You may have an idea but you haven’t got a clue how to code. Or maybe it’s the other way around; you love the energy of a start up but have no intention of starting your own, but you can lend your marketing skills. The yellow, red, blue, and green dots handed out at the beginning help you to quickly point out the people you may need.

3. Share… don’t hide your ideas out of fear of imitation. This was a recurring theme shared by more than one guest speaker.

4. Keep it simple. Some of the best ideas presented aimed to solve simple everyday problems.

5. Croydon Tech City can lead to Silicon Valley… How’s this for some inspiration: former guest speaker, 18 year old Andrew Brackin is off to Silicon Valley for a two year scholarship after being awarded 100k for his online business.

6. Shout it from the rooftops! Whatever your skill may be, go out and tell people just like the guest speakers of Croydon Tech City did by coming to speak to us at Matthews Yard. You’ll get some constructive feedback , network with new people, and maybe even meet someone with an interest in whatever it is you do.

Until next time,

Pilar xx

Croydon Tech City FTW.

Croydon Tech City will be on a summer recess until it reconvenes on Thursday September 19th for a new season.

If you wish to contact Croydon Tech City before then, .

Pilar Nalwimba

Pilar Nalwimba

I started out managing singers social media for record companies which I then turned into a lil' business. Now i work for myself over at My Social Media PA (http://mysocialmediapa.com/) looking after social media accounts for brands and businesses. I'm a lover of music, all things leopard print, and currently experimenting with influencer marketing :-) https://twitter.com/pilarofsociety

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