In 2007, industry, academia and government worked together to produce the Northern Ireland Digital Content Strategy – a timely document that paved the way to the Digital Circle collaborative network and several years of rapid growth in our local industry. Timely because it arrived just before a sea change in the market – the advent of the smartphone for everyone and the emergence of the App economy. With a steering group made up of industry professionals and solid support from the IT industry trade body, Digital Circle grew rapidly and was able to respond to changes in the market – from apps, to games, to augmented reality (it’s a big deal now but we had active projects in AR in Northern Ireland in 2011.)
Digital Circle lost funding in 2013 (and it’s host organisation, Momentum, closed down in 2014) and hadn’t completed a transition to a membership-based model. RAISE thinks Digital Circle was a vital part of the Northern Ireland Digital Ecosystem and we are dedicated to reviving it and making it sustainable. Northern Ireland needs a representative and lobbying organisation for the Digital Industry.
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Starting in June 2019, RAISE picked up the torch for helping deliver Northern Ireland from the Digital Skills Shortage which was amply illustrated at the NI Digital Skills Summit in April 2019. This has been part of our strategy as we are the spiritual successor to Start VI (the first commercial accelerator in NI) and Digital Circle (the biggest trade association for digital) in Northern Ireland.
Described as “the AA for Founders”, the Founders Forum is a great way for business founders to meet others like them and share their experiences in hiring and firing, technical debt, investing in a crisis, innovating for profit. Their experiences feed directly into our lobbying to government and academia.
Tech for Non-Tech Founders
Where technologists meet business, meet sales and meet finance. An opportunity for people with non-tech backgrounds to meet technical co-founders and developers for hire. An opportunity for our sector to develop contracts, help startups and ultimately make a living.
Coder Dojo Support
Some of our people run their own Coder Dojo but we would like to offer support to all of our sector and beyond to promote this initiative. Guidelines on how to set up your own, how to recruit other mentors and champions and how to get sponsorship. And maybe most importantly – what kit to get, where to hold it and what to show the Ninjas!