Three years ago a group of digital business owners gathered together, with the support of Lancashire County Council, to discuss how the rapidly growing digital, innovation and tech sector in our region could be better supported and represented in the county and beyond.
We realised that we shared many common challenges, such as finding people with the right skills, accessing good training, events and apprenticeships, keeping skills in Lancashire, getting greater recognition for the superb work, achievements and job creation Lancashire digital businesses are making in the sector and, more widely, helping to improve best practice.
As a result, we formed Digital Lancashire, a not-for-profit CIC (Community Interest Company) overseen by a board of volunteer directors, with just one full-time member of staff.
The impact of our work has been considerable. Just over the last year, we have created digital city hubs in Burnley, Lancaster and Preston, run many well-attended meetings and events, hosted the National Infrastructure Commissioner, created a Lancaster Business Property Forum, worked closely with UCLan and Lancaster University on their offer, worked with the Scale Up Institute, seen another cohort of Digital Advantage graduate from our skills programme, written reports and sent regular newsletters, including dedicated jobs and events comms – and that’s just a fraction of what we’ve been up to!
Over the next few months, we’ll be growing our Women in Tech group and launching a Code for Lancaster team, a group of developers, designers, tech geeks and others who use open source technology to solve social problems; we’ll be developing and growing our city hubs; we’ll be working to see The Landmark in Burnley becomes a huge success; we’ll be running another Digital Advantage programme; we’ll be pulling together a whole load of data so that we have an accurate and granular map of the profile of tech in our county; we’ll be running a load of events, meetups and masterclasses; and November will see the first #LancashireDigitalDay…
We’ll also be launching a new website so it becomes the place to find out about jobs and tenders in the region. A directory showcasing our members will be a key part of the build.
To achieve our ambitions and to take Digital Lancashire, we need your help. We have created something beautiful in DL, but now (just like organisations like Manchester Digital, Wired Sussex and Bristol Media) we need to become a paid membership organisation so that we can achieve more of our ambitious plans.
We’ll be rolling out our membership model over the next few weeks, and we really want you to join and support us in the next part of our journey.
If you have got any questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The Digital Lancashire Team