Brighton: the iconic seaside city on the south coast of England. With a typical but long history shared with many cities and towns up and down Britain, it’s onward and upward for this thriving and forward looking fold of the coast in East Sussex.
Growing confidence and investment form around the world has washed up on the shores of Brighton over the past decade and the trend is set to continue with compelling and inspiring tales of those who are already embracing the ‘digital tech hub’ wave sweeping the city.
One such example was Disney. The worlds very best loved brands in family entertainment. When it decided to expand it’s operations beyond the USA it knew expansion into Europe was undoubtedly the next step in its strategy to strengthen its global presence and corporate structure. It acquired Black Rock – a fresh computer game studio from Brighton – in 2006 as its first entry into the UK and wider European region.
When announced, Disney was quick to state that its confidence in Brighton and preference over bigger cities such as London came simply as it offered a less congested and refreshing environment for creative professionals and technologically minded employees to be inspired and contribute to the future of Disney’s interactive services on the net.
It’s not just large corporations who are jumping on Brighton as a new hope – individuals are jumping ship too. With rising living costs in London and the average cost of a home now well over £600,000 leaving the busy streets of the capital for the sunny shores of Brighton is a great move for families and young people.
Brighton has embraced a 10% rise in population since 2001 according to the Office for National Statistics. This is bringing new talent and skills from the big city and into employment within local and multinational companies in big figures.The popularity of local events such as the Brighton Digital Festival is only fuelling this newfound thirst for the industry of the future – online services.
The result of this recognition is bringing in flocks of students who are then going on to study at Brighton’s university in the modern arts of computer programming and more conventional fine art degrees. Down the line, more skilled workers for the flood of start-ups will begin to put Brighton’s name as one of the tech hubs of the UK to rival Salford and London into the headlines.This breeds an innovative start-up culture.
Brighton thrives off the old adage: “I came to the beach for the weekend and never left”. Notable start up successes include global tech companies like Brandwatch & iCrossing, digital change experts Brilliant Noise, and new tech disruptors such as Private Investor Network plus crowdfunding platform Shadow Foundr. They all thrive of this secret sense of meaning that Brighton seems to have an edge for.
But as this trend continues and Brighton becomes more renowned as one of the tech and digital hubs of the UK will this remove its initial attraction of being such a low cost change from London? Or will the increased publicity simply cause the same inflation and costs to rise?
Wages in Brighton have yet to move up above the national average in line with investment. Whether or not these economic changes will take their toll on the local economy and encourage this trend to grow or curb it altogether is for time to tell. It’s something to keep in mind for those looking to move and remain in the long term.
Today, Brighton is quickly growing its reputation as one of the most exciting and tempting propositions for many of the world’s largest corporations and city dwellers of London alike. A new chapter in its history is being written and anybody who jumps on-board to be a part of the ride competing with London and Salford as well as the wider creative talents of the world is surely part of a pioneering new generation of Britons showing the world their true talent.
Tim Aldiss, Shadow Foundr