Silicon South brings WordCamp to Dorset

Wordcamp presentationDid you know WordPress is used for around 20% of the web? Or that Facebook, who employ thousands of their own web designers and developers, use WordPress to run their blog? How about that it would take a password hacker just 37 minutes to guess this randomly generated password “q9bbUC4K” in an offline direct attack? These facts are among hundreds of snippets of information I’ve heard at this weekend’s WordCamp conference, held in Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre.

WordCamp events are an international phenomenon with hundreds of these ‘unconferences’ going on every year around the globe. In the UK they have been running an annual conference for the past six years, travelling around the country from Portsmouth to Edinburgh and plenty of places in between. This year Alison Boyle from Shaftesbury based ‘LA Marketing’, and Doug Belchamber from Bournemouth’s own ‘Smarter Digital’ put in a bid to bring WordCamp to the sunny south coast and host it here in Bournemouth.

After approaching the university directly, the two were immediately put in contact with Silicon South, the ideal vehicle to support such an endeavour and make sure the event would run and be a huge success. We here at Silicon South coordinated efforts between BU and Bournemouth Council to provide Doug and Alison with the venue requirements they needed to ensure a viable offer.

Submitting the bid back in March we then had a tense wait to find out if we’d been successful, as the members of the WordCamp community cast their votes on where to host the next event. Competing against Birmingham, with its fantastic university campus, central location and excellent travel connections, we knew Bournemouth would be a tough sell to the more northern members of this community! However the beachside bliss of the Silicon South obviously appealed to someone, as we won the vote 31 to 30.

The weekend’s event was attended by over 100 of the nation’s best and brightest WordPress developers, coming together to share ideas and experiences, and provide each other with support and advice. Attendees included local business owners, such as Cress Rolfe of Christchurch based ‘Seajar Digital’, as well as national figures including Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress. One gentleman had even travelled from as far away as Spain to take part in the event and find out how he could use WordPress in his school.

Overall the event was a great success, with several comments from attendees on what a fantastic place Dorset is and how much they enjoyed their stay. If you’re interested in attending a future WordCamp event you can keep an eye on their website at wpuk.org to find out the details, or follow them on Twitter @wpunitedkingdom.cropped-sil-south-logo-stack-cmyk1.jpg

Got a great idea for entertainment on the move? Enter the TSB’s Innovation Contest

A mobile coupleIC tomorrow is offering £100k worth of funding to encourage the development creative and innovative solutions to entertainment on the move, including music, books, magazines and games. Businesses are being encouraged to apply for one of the four £25k grants available to develop their ideas.

This is a fantastic opportunity to trial your tech with industry leaders, whilst holding onto your own intellectual property, secure funding, and receive support to speed up the commercialisation of your product.

Take a look at their website to find out more about applying, all applications must be in by the 29 July 2014.

Call for Expressions of Interest for Consultancy Services

SIL-SOUTH-LOGO-STACK-CMYKSilicon South Strategy Development

Call for Expressions of Interest for Consultancy Services

 Silicon South is working on behalf of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a strategy for boosting the digital creative economy in Dorset. In the next 12 months, Silicon South has committed to undertake a series of research and feasibility studies which together will inform a full-scale investment strategy setting out how this growth can be achieved. Silicon South is now looking for a consultant for up to a 12 month contract to deliver this strategy. For details and to lodge a formal proposal, please contact siliconsouth@bournemouth.ac.uk

TIGA Games Tax Relief Series is coming to Bournemouth this June

BU is hosting the TIGA Q&A road show this June, answering all questions local game developers might have about the recent tax relief that George Osborne has announced in his latest budget. The session will include expert speakers and local developers discussing practical ways to navigate around the newly introduced Games Tax Relief and to help you understand how it will benefit your games studio. Food and drink will be provided along with an opportunity for networking with speakers and other attendees.

Friday 27th June 2014

The Executive Business Centre (EBC), Bournemouth University, 89 Holdenhurst Road, Lansdowne Campus, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH8 8EB.

Timings: 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Speakers

Vincent Schereur, TIGA secretary

Christos Gatzidis, Bournemouth University

Peter Denison-Pender, MMP Tax

To find out more details and register click here

Project India – giving a voice to the voiceless

From Ellen’s Oscar Selfie,the most retweeted image ever, to the life changing campaigns that help expose political corruptionsecure aid for Syria, and providing realtime updates during the Boston Marathon Bombings – we’ve all seen the power of social media as it goes viral.

Bournemouth University has teamed up with a number of international university and media partners to harness the power of social media for community journalism; giving a voice to the non-news makers through Project India.  The project uses teams of journalism students (and the occasional staff member) from all the universities involved to provide honest news articles that can empower the voiceless masses.

Education partners:

Media partners:

To date the project has provided coverage of the recent Parliamentary Polls in India and provides an insight into the elections from the eyes of those on the ground.  Take a look at their blog to see some of the fascinating articles on the people involved, as well as the results of the election.

Incubation for the future?

cropped-sil-south-logo-stack-cmyk1.jpgIncubation and acceleration programmes are on the rise and are a key focus for Silicon South.  Recently Nesta, in association with the UK Cabinet Office, released its findings on what makes these programmes successful in  the report “Good Incubation”.  The report looks at international programmes including impact accelerators, co-working spaces and impact investors to provide an overview of what the UK should be investing in for effective incubation and acceleration programmes.

To launch this report Nesta hosted a panel discussion with various global partners.  Its recent post features short videos from the USA’s “Unreasonable Institute”, Nigeria’s “CcHub”, Sweden’s “Shift”, Brazil’s “Artemisia”, and Village Capital’s international investment programme that give an overview of international challenges and successes in incubation.

Each speaker discusses their own version of an incubation programme and how that’s worked for them, and where they are still struggling.  For example one theme that arises is how to make a profit from these programmes that can mean they become truly self-sustainable.

This report provides a global lesson in incubation and networking practices but what about our own local needs?  What would benefit our own entrepreneurs and provide a sustainable legacy of digital innovation for Dorset? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Free Professional Development Events! Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning

cropped-sil-south-logo-stack-cmyk1.jpgJune 2014 will see the return of BU’s Festival of Learning.  Last year’s event saw over 4,000 visitors to over 100 events in just 2 weeks.  This year there are even more opportunities to learn something new with events grouped within 8 themes, including Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, many of which are specifically designed for businesses and professional development.

These events offer an opportunity to network, learn something new or update an existing skill.

Subjects covered include computer animation, media production, software systems, artificial intelligence, business incubation, crowdsourcing and more. There are also a wide range of industry specific events that will that will appeal to those who work in the creative, digital and media sectors.

To find out more about all of their events just take a look at their website.  As well as finding out about events for your business or career there, are also a wide range of events to take your friends and family along to.

To save you some of the legwork, we’ve also been through and picked out some of the most relevant events for the creative and digital sectors:

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