By Francesca James
Cardiff Start represents the Welsh capital's emerging IT start-up community: a collection of over 300 entrepreneurs, investors and students based in the Welsh capital.
Cardiff Start has been set up as a community interest company, which means that they don't make any money. In fact, the only reason for their existence is to help make Cardiff one of the best places to start and grow a tech business in the UK.
Cardiff Start's goal is to raise the profile of local tech start-ups by co-hosting presentation and pitching workshops led by local experts, sponsoring knowledge-sharing workshops and hack days, and running investment showcase events where members can speed-pitch their businesses ideas to a panel of would-be investors.
Stephen Milburn of Cardiff app development company Tradebox Media, says that Cardiff Start is being driven by entrepreneurs in Cardiff who believe that their city is not just a "great place to work and live" but could also be a serious incubator of job and wealth creation.
Stephen says that ‘tech and digital is eight per cent of UK GDP and our group’s turnover is £105 million a year, which would make us the 46th-biggest company in Wales’.
Just a couple of hours down the M4, London has been on the global digital map for quite some time. Four years ago developer Matt Biddulph flippantly remarked that Old Street has become the next Silicon Roundabout, a name which is now seen as the de facto term for the area around Old Street.
Over the last few years 4,800 (according to a recent estimate) firms operating in the digital sector have grown in inner east London. Large operations like Cisco, Google and Facebook now have a presence around this zone alongside smaller tech companies who have also enjoyed tremendous success in the vibrant scene that the government has now re-branded to Tech City.
The government's unequivocal goal is to create a cluster that will rival California's Silicon Valley, but why should east London be the frontrunner in the UK’s digital revolution? "Silicwm Valley" or whatever name the Cardiff Start collective get dubbed by the media might soon join the Cambridge Cluster and London's Tech City/Silicon Roundabout as a growing U.K. tech region, if this new collective of Cardiff tech entrepreneurs has its way.
Thursday 11th April sees the official launch of Cardiff Start in Cardiff's City Hall. The venture, which is backed by Cardiff Council, KPMG, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Cardiff University, will be kicking off with a bang by holding several essential workshops offering expert advice to tech businesses in the city. You can find out more about the group here: http://cardiffstart.com/