“Tech for the common good”: A review of Croydon Tech City’s 2015 launch

By - Tuesday 10th February, 2015

#Croydon #TechCity leader Jonny Rose reports on the homegrown movement’s start to the new year

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

‘Tech for the common good’ was the theme of Croydon Tech City’s 2015 launch event last month.

Two years since Croydon Tech City first launched into Croydon’s psyche, we’ve become London’s fastest growing tech cluster, we’ve helped set Croydon’s economy back on track, we’ve launched Future Tech City for Croydon’s pupils, and so on.

As we enter our third year, the launch event provided a platform upon which the team and the community could wrestle with the positives and negatives of tech in Croydon.

Lord Wei of Shoreditch on “The Maker Revolution”

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Lord Wei’s speech was both an evidence-based warning against unfettered enthusiasm towards ‘software eating the world’ and a hopeful thesis about the future for mankind in this new world.

Whilst technology had brought many benefits it was also in danger of creating new problems. Lord Wei questioned the assumption that technology ‘creates as many new jobs as it displaces’ and cited multiple examples of the where this was not the case. Wei also drew upon the problems of gentrification when areas become home to a new class of software creatives only to marginalize and out-price incumbent residents.

His answer to this was: let’s train people to do the jobs the robots can’t do.

The Maker Revolution refers to engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. Wei’s latest venture Maker Wharf is typical of the maker communities he believes will spring up in time across the world.

Croydon Tech City – What’s new for 2015?

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Co-founder and director Nigel Dias and Sarah Luxford, took the audience through what they could expect over the coming year.

As well as the usual strategy piece around investment, culture, education and startup support services, there were several notable announcements:

Firstly, Croydon Tech City has now become a limited company. Although a not-for-profit, incorporating has meant that we can raise funding and sponsorship to scale our ongoing efforts.

Secondly, Croydon Tech City would be providing free community classes available to all Croydoners starting in February. Whether you are interested in learning to code, learning project & team management skills, or learning to build a startup from the ground up, there will be a class for you.

The final unveiling of the night was by Sarah Luxford, who introduced Simon Tomes as the newest member of the Croydon Tech City management team. Although living in Kennington, Simon is exemplary of the new types of people who are attracted to Croydon because of its welcoming tech scene. His latest startup ‘Qeek’ operates out of 3Space Croydon, and Tomes will act as CTC’s ear on the ground to understand the pressing needs of the borough’s growing startup economy.

Matt Kepple of Makerble

Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Croydon’s Matt Kepple joined us – 18 months after he first graced the CTC stage – to discuss how his startup, Makerble, is working to make the impact of giving more visible and social – pictures and updates from beneficiaries.

Using the site people who have donated their money can see exactly where it has gone to help the cause.

“Most people have a desire to change the world, but there is no way to know where money goes in charities. People give when donations are transparent.”

Matt gave the crowd some useful advice to be pragmatic about their idea. He also plugged the advantages of going freelance after he found he had become a very valuable asset to companies.

Of course there were challenges – working with friends who aren’t working to your standard, dealing with all the rejection and figuring out how you’re going to keep afloat – but like any good Croydon startup entrepreneur, Matt knows that the rewards far outweigh the challenges.

The next Croydon Tech City event takes place on Thursday 19th February at 7:30pm at 3Space Croydon (in Southern House, next to East Croydon Station). To sign up, please register here.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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