It’s something we have always thought, but now it has been reported that Brighton is indeed, the central creative hub of the South Coast.
Featuring in a special report put together in The Observer on start-ups in Britain, the technology and creative industries of Brighton were highlighted as enjoying continued growth, even through the recession. Indeed, according to a recent survey and report by Wired Sussex and local universities, the digital sector companies in Brighton enjoyed an average growth of about 14% per year, with job growth in the area at 10 times the rate of the wider UK economy.
With a foundational spirit of creativity, Brighton is a natural home for entrepreneurs – with dozens of new, technology based companies choosing to stay close to the sea rather than head inland to London. A combination of great universities – and therefore creative graduates – a well connected design and technology community and a general creative energy has galvanized Brighton as the place to be.
Plus, Brighton has developed a very inter-disciplinary approach, with lots of cross-over projects happening across related sectors – part of what makes it so special, according to CEO of Wired Sussex, Phil Jones – “If you want to understand whether there’s real value in bringing together learning from the arts and technology, then Brighton is the place to test that proposition.”
One of the featured companies in the article was TribeHive – a company headed up by University of Sussex Senior Lecturer in Software Systems, Dr Ian Wakeman, which provides solutions for situations where smartphones have limited connectivity. Being a life long football fan, the construction of the new Brighton and Hove stadium beside the University of Sussex campus provided Dr Wakeman with an ideal opportunity to create a solution to the problem of limited network connections at venues.
“When you go to a football stadium you normally can’t get a signal for love nor money,” says Wakeman. “This app builds the network directly between all the other phones within the stadium, and then whoever has got connectivity pulls down the current live scores and Twitter feeds and travel news and distributes it directly to everyone in the stadium.”
Also featured was investor and mentor, Arjo Ghosh, who sits on the Enterprise Panel at the University of Sussex as well as being a non-executive director at Brilliant Noise and video production company, FatSand.
“It’s a very open-minded, friendly scene.” says Ghosh. “About half the startups I see here are aiming to be a social enterprise, they want to make the world a better place.”
So, want to be part of a great creative industry who want to create change in the world? Brighton is a great place to be…
(image via sxc)