Norfolk has a hideous reputation as a backward county. Even the largest employer in the area, Aviva, plays on this trope with it’s advertising campaigns. The problem is one of both of location, and transport links. You don’t pass through Norfolk to get to anywhere – other than perhaps the North Norfolk coast for a holiday. If you’re going to Norfolk it’s likely a deliberate journey, and one that’s made difficult due to decisions made in previous centuries regarding road and rail links.
While problematic in the past, location is no longer as much of a concern when it comes to modern, digital business. It’s partly because of this that Norwich finds itself nurturing its very own tech cluster. I know. It’s true! There’s even a report done by TechCity that proves it. While you’re reading that, check out the red bird logo on some of the pages. That’s us. Great, isn’t it?
With groups like nor(DEV): and SyncNorwich, and events like nor(DEV):con and SyncTheCity you also get to realise that it’s a very active tech scene too. Either that, or we get very bored on a night and need to make up things to do. Either way, we’ve managed to attract some top notch speakers over the years.
So for those who have expressed surprised that Rainbird made it into Techstars because they are Norwich based you may want to look again. It’s not really all that surprising at all. To me it was never a question of if a Norfolk company could get it, it was just a question of when.
Incidentally, and this is purely here for anyone who has any sway over these types of things, but a really, really good way to help a burgeoning tech sector, like that found in Norfolk, is to have good, fast, reliable broadband. Hell, some of us would be happy with just band, broad or otherwise. So if you know someone, who could talk to someone, who could put in a good word for us, that would be super. Or, you know, a proper rail link. One that doesn’t involve me going via Billericay on a bus on a weekend when I’m going to London to get a mobile signal. Just a thought.