Discover the Norwich #TechNation Community

In February 2015, Tech City UK (a government funded agency tasked with promoting the UK’s tech capabilities to the world) launched its first #TechNation report. This listed 21 tech clusters in the UK - and, we are delighted to say, Norwich was 15th on the list. However, we would like it to be in the Top 10 within five years.

There are many reasons to work in and around the vibrant Norwich cluster, but one of the key benefits pointed out in the report is that:

“Most cluster members (73%) report a strong network of entrepreneurs to share ideas and experiences with.”

This makes our #TechNation community a perfect place to start-up or scale-up your business. A point reinforced in this article from the Sunday Times in October 2015:


Norwich #Startup #Scaleup

Click to enlarge in new tab.

To help you make the most of this supportive environment, we thought it might be useful introduce you to some of the most prominent networks.

In simple terms, the three main groups (judged by the number of members on Meetup and Link) are:

  1. Norfolk Developers - which you might call ‘hard-core tech’ in that it looks at how developers and coders build things. This is run by Paul Grenyer, who also organises the fantastic annual NorDevCon - which is for business people, designers and developers (not just techies).
  2. SyncNorwich - this has a broader business focus than NorDev and tends to look at what tech people have built and what that technology does for people and businesses. Founded by John Fagan and Fiona Lettice in 2011, it is one of the largest tech groups in the UK on Meetup (outside of London) with over 1000 members. It is also behind various other groups and events:
  3. Last but not least, Hot Source - founded in 2010 by Nania Tate, Tom Wood and Jake Hithersay - which looks at what the tech/digital/creative community might build in future and how that might shape business and society. You can also find us on Meetup and LinkedIn

Other interesting elements in Norfolk’s evolving tech ecosystem:

  1. Norfolk Indie Games Developers (NIGD)– founded in 2012 by Alastair Aitchison and others – now apparently one of the biggest indie games developers groups in the UK.
  2. Norwich Hackspace / Makerspace – hands-on tech/creative workshops (looking at things like coding, robotics and 3-D printing) run by Marion Catlin.
  3. Young Rewired State (YRS) – Norwich Hyperlocal – run by Adam Ferguson. YRS is an international movement to encourage young people to take up coding. Its hyperlocal groups are run by volunteers.
  4. Norfolk Tech Journal (NTJ) this is an online magazine.  Originally set up by Paul Grenyer, it is now run by Sean Clark.
  5. White Space at St James’ Mill – this is the first of a growing number of co-working tech hubs in the city - the current website doesn’t say much but here’s a post about it on the Norfolk Tech Journal.
  6. Norwich Ruby User Group - you guessed it, a group for ‘Rubyists’.
  7. New - Norwich Agile Angels - a group for agile evangelists.

Further afield (even over the borders):

  1. SIMS - Suffolk Internet Marketing Specialists, Ipswich.
  2. Innovation Martlesham - an ICT innovation cluster based at Adastral Park (birth-place of fibre optics and digital switching technologies) - home to BT’s Global Research and Development Headquarters, as well as the research units of some of the world’s leading ICT companies.
  3. Cambridge Network - much like Hot Source, this group aims to bring people together to share ideas and “encourage collaboration and partnership for shared success.”
  4. InDigital, Bury St Edmunds - has run some interesting and successful conferences in the past - we hope they will do so again.

This is our first attempt at building this list. If you spot any mistakes or omissions, please let me know by posting your comments below. If you think it is a useful start, please share with your network.

Thank you

Huw and the Hot Source team.

PS: Check out this post on the NTJ site about the map of tech and digital companies in East Anglia - and add your company if appropriate.

Norwich Innovation Forum

Please share this post with your network

Leave a Reply