This month manager Tom Wolfenden takes a look at the support Sheffield Technology Park offers beyond office space and business advice
Something we’re most proud of is helping 18 tech-based ‘meetup’ groups over the last year, in collaboration with Sheffield Digital, the digital sector employer association. We asked Chris Dymond, co-founder of Sheffield Digital, why meetups matter to the digital ecosystem.
Meetups are the lifeblood of every digital tech ecosystem – the crucial fora in which technical knowledge is exchanged between professionals, students, novices and people from outside the city. They are also communities of practice that are able to collaborate and create together, bringing additional value to the local economy and the city in general.
Sheffield has had a thriving meetup scene for a long time, and supporting and developing it has been a cornerstone of Sheffield Digital’s strategy since it was formed in 2015. Meetups can never be taken for granted – they rely on the hard and determined work of volunteer organisers and the commitment of sponsors. We are able to do several things to support these organisers: we collect events into a central calendar, promote them on social media, provide online channels to organise and engage, and bring organisers together in person via our Meta-meetup series – meetups specially for meetup organisers.
What we can’t do, though, is provide organisers with the venue to really get their meetup off the ground – to bridge the gap between a few people getting together in a pub, and a flagship event series that attracts big audiences and commands significant sponsorship revenue to cover the costs.
This is the gap that Sheffield Technology Parks has begun to fill this year, and the impact has been profound with several existing meetups now on a better footing, and many new event series springing up. It’s a perfect complement to the work that we do and is adding greatly to Sheffield’s burgeoning reputation as a thriving, vibrant place to work in technology.
Join one of our meetups…
Front End Sheffield
Sheffield Digital Leaders
Sheffield Women in Tech (ShfWIT)
For dates, please see: www.sheffield.digital/events
Front End Sheffield, Laura Kishimoto
We meet up on the last Thursday of every month at Sheffield Technology Parks to discuss and learn about web development, usability, design, and related topics.
Sheffield Women in Tech (ShfWIT), Katie Attwood
We aim to support and raise the profile of all women working or wanting to work in technology or digital roles in Sheffield and the surrounding area.