Buying and selling at the Skills Bazaar
Yesterday I attended the inaugural Cambridge Skills Bazaar at the Hauser Building on the West Cambridge site. The idea was a simple one – bring together the galaxy of start-ups and SMEs from around Cambridge and help people find complementary skills to take their ideas and businesses to the next level. A great idea and a lot of thanks should go to Massimo Gaetani and Mauro Ciaccio of Cambridge Pitch and Mix for thinking it up and organising the whole event.
There’s been a lot of talk about creating the new Silicon Valley over the last week and the West Cambridge site has obviously designed to resemble US-style campuses through a combination of angular architecture and clean lines. Three things let it down however – the bitter Cambridge wind which mitigates against stopping and chatting in the open, all the parking spaces being reserved for university big-wigs and a wireless network that doesn’t work with iPhones.
Over 50 people came along to the event, offering skills as diverse as software development, product design, creative media and the unsexily titled support services, where PR resides. So a great range of talents, all keen to network and help the cluster grow. But what struck me most was how fragile this confidence was – the panel session was dominated by discussion on how to protect yourself if things go wrong or if collaboration collapses. Sure, this is always a possibility, but I think it is time for an injection of confidence if we’re going to produce more billion dollar businesses to rival ARM, Autonomy and Cambridge Silicon Radio. A bit of Californian confidence (as well as weather) would go a long way to helping companies flourish in today’s murky economy.
- The Cambridge cluster: University challenge (economist.com)