Last night I had the pleasure of attending the presentation of the “Creative Class” for 2015 in Nottingham Contemporary. The event is organised by Nottingham Means Business and they define the group as:
The ‘Creative Class’ is a group of companies chosen each year to represent the flair and entrepreneurial talent in Nottingham. …Applicants do not apply. They need to be nominated by another business in the city who genuinely believe they fit the criteria to be part of The Creative Class and know enough about their business to write a thorough endorsement of their business. The Creative Class is being sponsored by PwC and co-supported by Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, Nottingham Means Business (NMB) and Nottingham City Council.
Simon Gray, the chief executive of NMB opened and closed the event, the fourth year of the promotion. We had a brief presentation by PWC (Paul Norbury introducing, Catherine Garrard explaining) on the benefits of R&D tax breaks, and then Toby Reid of BioCity looked back at the first event four years ago. He ran through a list of companies honoured then, and what happened since – a series of success stories for Nottingham and the individuals involved.
We then had ten brief (limited to five minutes with a timekeeper) talks from the owners, founders, managers of the companies selected for this year. No slides, other than one photograph, no powerpoint, just speaking and handwaving. Great stories, histories, explanations of technology. But what also came across was how much they like being in Nottingham, how the local population skill and knowledge base is valued, how the support networks, especially Creative Quarter and BioCity are important. Sounds trite, but it was very inspiring to hear these companies speak.
If that wasn’t good enough, we were treated to a virtuoso performance by Jonathan English, of Skeleton Productions, who asked each speaker a few pertinent questions based on the content of their talk.
A few other points:
- Their hashtag, #CC2015, was also being used last night by those interested in Adobe’s Creative Cloud (with many unhappy customers). And then by a sports event in Birmingham. So it became a slightly bizarre read on twitter, bunches of Nottingham tweets interspersed with Adobe complaints. The double usage may also account for the hashtag trending in the UK last night.
- NMB had arranged for drinks, nibble food (very nice) before and after the event at Nottingham Contemporary. My pleasure at being there was increased when a member of staff told me about the new, improved, wifi network available for guests – strong and constant throughout.
- Susan Hallam also pointed out she was the only female speaker in the ten.
- Iain Simons explained the strength of Nottingham’s reputation: Robin Hood was great for attracting USA West Coast and Japanese developers to Game City, Shottingham less so for people in Guildford.
Here is the list, in the order they spoke last night, with links to websites and twitter.
- All About Tourism – a marketing and events company.
- Azotic Technologies (@AzoticTech) -technology to allow every cell in a plant with the ability to fix its own nitrogen from the air.
- Impression (@impressiontalk) – a creative agency, familiar to regular readers from Aaron’s guest blog post last year.
- Games City (@gamecity) – clue in the name
- Tumour Trace – innovative technological solutions for screening, monitoring and early diagnostics of cancer
- Spinning Clock (@spinningclock) – a creative agency, specialising in marketing through live events, video production and digital media.
- Reach Separations (@REACHSEPARATION) – specialises in chromatography for the analysis and purification of small molecules.
- Hallam Internet (@HallamInternet) a digital marketing agency with a strong ethos for plain speaking and ethical activities.
- MeArm Robotics (@phenoptix) – MeArm is a pocket size robot arm. It was conceived to make robotics, electronics and programming accessible, and is open source.
- App Institute (@AppInstitute) – provide a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that allows SMEs and individuals with little to no prior technical knowledge to create their own app.
If you want to be a part of this in 2016, have a good look at the “nominations open for 2015” page of NMB and get networking!