What has #Croydon #TechCity done over the last two years?

By - Wednesday 22nd October, 2014

As #Croydon #TechCity enters its third year as the town’s tech hub, co-founder Nigel Dias sets the record straight

Photo by Mike Beecham, used with permission.

After a summer recess, #Croydon #TechCity returned last month to start our third year as Croydon’s own Silicon Roundabout. It’s been a hectic and rewarding couple of years since CTC began, and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve made our presence known both in and beyond Croydon. However, one question I still get asked the most, both by veterans and newcomers alike, is:

“What does Croydon Tech City do?”

The last two years have seen us transform from a tiny meet-up group into a growing organisation which delivers events and mentoring, champions education programmes, hosts economic and skills summits, and sporadically advises local policy makers. Given this growth, compounded by the media attention that we attract and create, it’s small wonder that our messaging has become lost in the noise.

I hope to create clarity here around our goals and objectives as we look to 2015 and beyond, so that our community may continue to support us, and so that they know how we will try to support them back.

In 2013, Gordon Bull, CEO of Bryden Johnson, helped us define our mission statement as

“inspiring and championing tech business, skills and opportunity in South London”

Firstly, and hopefully, observers will see how everything we have done, and everything we will do, ties back to this statement. Secondly, observers will become aware that Croydon Tech City does not ‘own’ our tech community, but simply aims to be a voice for it, and to steward it into becoming a fully functioning technology ecosystem.

Inspiring a tech community

The original aim of CTC was to show that Croydon already has an abundance of technology businesses and people. Through events like our CTC Thursdays, and the CTC Socials, we allow technology professionals (and amateurs) to become part of a community, whilst seeing local and external speakers on the stage. However, while Croydon Tech City may be the loudest, it is not the oldest nor the only event, as the Croydon Creatives and Digital Croydon will attest. As we look to 2015, I hope that more groups will start their own technology events, creating their own communities which we can support using our profile and network.

Supporting tech start-ups

At our Thursday sessions, attendees will see on stage either tech founders or high profile speakers, from whom they learn how to grow their own start-ups, or they might perhaps be inspired and given the confidence to start their own businesses. Outside of this, we actively facilitate meetings between aspiring entrepreneurs and mentors – both successful volunteers from our community, or professional organisations with whom we are partnered. As well as continuing to leverage the experience (and good will) of our community, we actively invite more businesses, such as law firms, investors, incubators and accelerator programmes, to take advantage of our fertile community.

Delivering tech talent

The success of the technology industry is dependent on our ability to address the huge skill shortage predicted over the coming years. The employment of adults and children is similarly dependent on our ability to create opportunities for them to learn the necessary skills to take advantage of these jobs. To this effect, last year we launched Future Tech City, our platform to make it as easy as possible for nationally recognised programmes like Code Club and Apps for Good to operate in the borough, and to celebrate the individuals and organisations delivering these changes. Over the next year, we will continue to encourage primary and secondary schools to join us and become involved, as well as holding another large scale event in 2015.

Managing a tech ecosystem

In the long run, we aim to make Croydon a place where tech businesses are born and thrive. In addition to the community, the support and the talent, it is also important that infrastructure is invested in appropriately, so that more and larger businesses can operate here. To this effect, we will continue to lobby national public and private sector bodies to promote Croydon, and work with our highly supportive local council, to ensure the best possible environment for tech business to take place locally.

It is worth noting two final points. Firstly, Croydon Tech City is not the only new and exciting movement taking place locally and, when we can, CTC will always work with and promote the other hugely positive cultural and economical initiatives taking place in the borough, whether technology related or not. Secondly, and significantly, we are still very early in the journey to becoming a tech city and, while successful, less than five percent of South London’s technology businesses are engaged in our community. As we evolve further, from a small unfunded community group into an organisation working with commercial partners, things can only get exponentially better.

The next Croydon Tech City event takes place on Thursday 23rd October at 7:30pm at Matthews Yard. The event will focus on tech startups innovating in the property rental and investment sector.

To attend please sign up here OR .

Nigel Dias

Nigel Dias

Nigel Dias (@nigeld27) is the co-founder of Croydon Tech City (@croydontechcity) and Managing Director of 3n Strategy (www.3nstrategy.com).

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  • Tommy Newman

    You are building a fantastic and useful community that has had a positive effect on my business over the last year and a half, since I found CTC. Thank you!

  • http://www.20me.club/ Simon Tomes

    I live in Teddington yet commute to Croydon because of Croydon Tech City. It’s an awesome community to be part of. I’m inspired to do better with my tech startup because I know there are others like me who are trying to grow a tech business from scratch. We help each other out and that’s super important. Croydon Tech City creates connections and this article sums it up nicely Nigel. There’s a tech buzz happening in Croydon and things are only going to get better.

  • dreweaster

    Croydon Tech City has inspired me to believe that it’s possible for anyone to begin a startup adventure, as long as they are truly passionate. The community is going from strength to strength, and it’s through the network I’ve built at Croydon Tech City that I found my current startup business partner. In just two years, Jonny, Nigel and Sarah have supported a big shift in peoples’ perception towards Croydon, and it’s exciting to see where things go from here.

  • David Lee

    I’ve witnessed Croydon Tech City grow from strength to strength. Having been there from pretty much the beginning, I think that the best part is the spirit of community that it fosters amongst tech and startup entrepreneurs. CTC has helped me connect with so many people enabling me to get much needed technical, business and legal/financial advice and support for my startup. There’s lots of things I wouldn’t have known or got to experience if I had kept in my bubble and not been springboarded by my involvement with CTC. The meet ups are always great too, helping you to learn from other peoples experiences whether you are a complete ‘newbie’ to the scene or an industry veteran. What’s interesting too is that the agenda is long term, I really admire the team’s drive to get kids involved in technology. Well done guys for getting this far and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next year and beyond!

  • Charles Ajidahun

    This is great guys. Many thanks for the support. Glad to be a part of the community

  • chris waniala

    To me, Croydon Tech City is a much needed refuge from the trials and tribulations on running my own start up called KrazyCool (www.krazycool.co.uk)

    I attend as many as I can because its the one event that I know of (in Croydon) where you can not only find people close by who are going through similar challenges as yourself, but also those that are willing to lend a helping hand if you ask for one.

    In short, I’m a fan for life!

  • Luella

    The Croydon Tech City movement has been inspiring – what’s been achieved for Croydon’s rep in such a short space of time and how it has become a facilitator for other things, a way for people to connect and learn. Makes me proud to be a Croydonian! Awesome job!

  • http://www.streetpin.com StreetPin

    Croydon Tech City has welcomed me as an entrepreneur and supported us as a business. I feel a genuine sense of belonging in this buzzing, progressive environment. I love the fact that I can tweet or mail for advice and help at any time of day and get answers or directed towards someone that can help.

  • ukgrossman

    At Croydon Tech City it’s great to meet people, share ideas as well as find out about what and how new companies are doing.

    Most importantly though Croydon Tech City is thinking about the skills our current under 19s will need with its Future Tech City programme.

    We’re working to enable every primary school to have an after school programming club. Not only that we also want to make sure teachers have the skills and knowledge to teach the new Computing curriculum as well.

  • Lauraine G

    Croydon Tech City is my favorite networking event. I’ve attended many others but since the beginning with CTC, I’ve felt comfortable, supported and among friends. Sarah, Nigel and Jonny, have built up a solid and loyal following, which gets bigger with each meetup. Their vision for the future is clear and refreshingly, it’s about the community. I’ve found the people at CTC (especially the founders, who are both approachable and eager to help wherever they can), warm, welcoming, friendly and helpful. They’ve built up a strong following and host some great talks and events. Well done guys, keep up the excellent work!!