Tech Wednesday April write-up

Tech Wednesday’ is a once a month event run by Innovation Birmingham as a get-together for the Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) and Membership tech start-up community to mingle with other tech types from the region. The evening event starts with beers and networking, then an hour of presentations in the state-of-the-art conference room, then more beer, with complimentary pizza.

The latest Tech Wednesday meet-up partnered with Creative Enterprise who had four speakers; Helga Henry, Director of Creative Shift and a board member of the Creative Advantage Fund (C.A.F); Pete McLuskie from Creative Enterprise; Noel Dunne, Director of Creative Alliance; and Simon Whitehouse, Co-founder of Data Unlocked and an open data freelancer.

Helga Henry hosted the evening, using breaks between each speaker to present ‘the C.A.F Guide to Investment Readiness’.  Click on the following links to find out more about Creative Enterprise and the C.A.F Guide to Investment Readiness.

Helga also spoke about the differences between lifestyle and exit businesses, warning how important it is that entrepreneurs know which they are building. Helga then went on to discuss the process of getting ready for VC investment, pitching for investment and preparing to exit from investment.

Pete McLuskie spoke in more depth on how Creative Enterprise – the free business support platform for Creative Industries, including tech and digital businesses – works.

Creative Enterprise does not provide funding; instead it works to provide practical support to start-ups. It offers the skills training needed to help creative start-ups succeed and build financially viable and profitable businesses. Creative Enterprise does this by providing mentoring sessions and workshop activities which offer hands-on advice.

Noel Dunne then delivered a presentation on alternative ways of recruiting new talent into your business. Noel worked through a number of case studies relating to apprenticeships, detailing the value having an apprentice can bring.

This topic triggered lots of questions from the audience relating to pay, contracts, training, remote working, matched salary and grant schemes. To read more about taking on an apprentice and how it could benefit your business, visit the website: www.creativealliance.org.uk

Simon Whitehouse spoke on: ‘Opportunities for emerging businesses within open data’.

He kicked-off by saying “A piece of data or content is ‘open’ if anyone is free to use and distribute it.”
Simon went on to clarify further, saying: “Open data could be a census, traffic flow report, a list of toilet locations; anything that isn’t related to personal information can be classed as open data”.
This data can be located within data stores such as this: Data.gov.ukand London.gov.uk and by using the search term ‘data store’.

The two open data areas that are currently most popular are crime and transport. It is expected that Birmingham City Council will soon be launching its own data store for local entrepreneurs to sink their teeth into.

As an example, Simon looked at UStreet; a location based web service using open data to create a tool designed to help people moving into a new area by showing them local statistics.

Simon also went through a couple of his own open data projects including An Open Data Store In A Day and School Finder; an online tool that shows the cut-off distances for primary and secondary schools in your area.

Paul Beckley, Head of ICT at Centro was in attendance and encouraged people to get in touch regarding working with Centro on building a case to develop its own open data profile.

For Paul’s contact details please get in touch with the team at Innovation Birmingham.

To get in touch with, and read more about open data from Simon Whitehouse, you can visit his dedicated site here>>

The next Tech Wednesday will be held at 6pm, 21st May at the Innovation Birmingham Campus.
For more details on speaker line-up and registration please click here>>

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