2018 was a great year for Silicon Canal, we did absolutely loads to connect, support and promote the tech community in the West Midlands.




  • Monthly Tech Drinks – getting bigger and better
  • Weekly blog posts – follow our blog for relevant tech news that’s happening in the region
  • CTOs dinner – joining up CTOs from startups to large company CTOs
  • Molly promoted herself to Community Engagement Officer just so she could say “CEO”
  • Meetup organisers support meeting – supporting meetup organisers in the region, whether that’s venue hunting or speaker finding
  • Ambassadors event – updating our lovely volunteers who help us with shouting about our region
  • Summer BBQ – fun in the sun, yearly event, giving people opportunity to connect
  • Piloted the Greenlight Investment Programmelight touch support to help tech businesses get investment ready
  • Gained a lovely board member: Clare Streets!
  • The third annual Tech Awards – highlighting and promoting the wonderful tech talent we have here in the West Midlands


We have also been creating ideas in our working group meetings, figuring out ways of engaging, attracting, retaining, and developing tech talent in the region.


Our Community Engagement Officer, Molly, has been busy meeting new people to the region, key players, spaces, companies big and small, talking at, and attending many events and meetups throughout this year.


As with everything though, we can do and want to do MORE…


Our plans for 2019 involve more projects, events and ideas than this year, including:



  • CTOs dinner
  • 4x diversity and inclusion roundtables (topics include: leadership & retain, innovation culture, governance & policy, 4th one tbc)
  • Meetup organisers event (half yearly)
  • Women in Tech Fest – March, partnering with as many organisers as possible to create a festival of events. (Topics include: play, inspire, community and leadership)
  • CEOs dinner
  • Ambassadors event and update (half yearly)
  • Tech conference and hackathon
  • Summer BBQ
  • Tech Talks
  • Investment in tech event
  • Tech Awards


Support projects:

  • Green Light Investment Programme
  • Mentorship programme
  • Meetup organisers support
  • Leadership programme


Other outputs:

  • Whitepaper update
  • Video interviews with tech leaders
  • Community resources – when starting a tech company or scaling up what do you need to think about?
  • Tech Birmingham brochure – who and what’s here? Why you should move or start your business here


Do you have ideas on any on the above?

Could you host one of these events at your office?

Or do you just want to be kept in the loop of when this activity will be happening?  


For any of the above please email our Community Engagement Officer, Molly Thompson, hello@siliconcanal.co.uk


This year we have had a record number of sponsors, so I’d like to take this time to thank them all:



HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking groups. We support over 1 million UK businesses, among 38 million customers worldwide, and have a network spanning 67 countries and territories. In 2017, we won the title of ‘The World’s Best Bank’ in Euromoney magazine’s Awards for Excellence. Our Commercial Banking network covers 53 international markets and gives us access to around 90% of world trade flows. We’re also an official partner of the International Business Festival 2018. Our regional heads work with experts in markets, liquidity and cash management to design sophisticated, cross-border solutions.

We have specialist teams serving eight key sectors, including our Technology team. These bankers support tech firms all over the UK, ranging from high growth start-ups to some of the UK’s largest quoted companies. The Technology team works alongside local relationship directors to share our experience and insight, support our clients’ ambitions and fuel their growth. Find out more here: https://www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/corporate/gb/campaign%20sub%20page/technology

Hays are delighted to be one of the key Sponsors for Silicon Canal for the second year running.

due to the aligned passion and enthusiasm for the Tech Ecosystem in the Birmingham area.

At Hays Digital Technology we are passionate about the endless possibilities created by

the digital revolution.  We identify and engage with the top talent who are enabling this

transformation from software developers building apps for internet of things; to data scientists

who are freeing up the time of individuals to focus on the big problems by automating what

is now manual and labour intensive; to white hat hackers, keeping us safe from threats in

cyberspace. Find out more here: www.hays.co.uk

Talent RISE is the foundation of Talent – a global technology and digital recruitment specialist.

Talent RISE was founded in 2014 to help solve the youth unemployment crisis and in turn

provide a brighter future for the youth of today.

RISE offers education and job-ready programs to marginalised, disadvantaged young

people. The foundation works closely with clients in the technology sector to source career

opportunities and work experience to help bring about a brighter future for those involved. Find

out more at https://talentrise.org/

Techinsure works with businesses within the technology industry to help them to understand the risks they face and provide risk management and insurance solutions to mitigate the costs in the event of a claim. In partnership with Hiscox Insurance, we have been providing the following covers for a number of years:

•          Professional Indemnity;

•          Cyber Liability;

•          Intellectual Property;

•          Directors and Officers and;

•          Technology Combined insurances.

Contact us to find out more about Techinsure and the covers we can provide.

03330 431 133



Find out more here: https://www.techinsure.co.uk/

BlackCat Technology Solutions is an agile software development consultancy operating in the

heart of Birmingham.  We’re on a mission to create the most respected software consultancy in the UK, providing a truly rewarding environment in which to work, learn, and drive the state of the art in software development.

By providing highly performing agile teams made up of talented and passionate individuals, we enhance the success of our customers by providing expert software development consultancy services that they can rely on to deliver their strategic business goals.

Over our 6 years of existence, we’ve grown to 115 engineers with offices in Birmingham and

London, but we’re not satisfied stopping there.  We have significant growth plans over the next 3 years, and are looking forward to playing a key role in the tech and software scene in Birmingham for many years to come. To find out more please go to https://blackcatsolutions.co.uk

As the UK’s 9th largest accounting and consulting network, we help technology businesses thrive in a changing world. We provide all the support and guidance you need to deal with new risks and opportunities, and ensure you have access to the right people – so that decisions can be made quickly and confidently.

If your business and personal interactions need to expand, we’ll help make it happen –

coordinating advice from a network of offices across the UK and globally. Whether you are an

early-stage business or AIM listed organisation – we’ll support you to achieve your business or personal goals. https://www.moorestephens.co.uk

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is a top 40 law firm with a city, national and international presence. Since opening in July 2011, the firm’s office in Birmingham has grown considerably in size and capacity and offers a full range of services with particular strengths in commercial contracts, inward investment, M&A and employment.

The firm’s dedicated start-up specialists give unstuffy, commercial advice with clear

recommendations supported by options and pragmatic risk analysis based on their experience of what makes clients’ businesses succeed. With 47 Partners listed in Chambers and Legal 500 UK as leading individuals and notable practitioners, recent projects include advising the West Midlands Combined Authority on the innovative 5G roll out in the region. Find out more here: https://trowers.com

Event Sponsors:


Packt provides learning resources and services to software developers and other tech

professionals. Formed in 2004, with a focus on book publishing, Packt has since expanded the scope of what it does to include a diverse range of content formats, from video to live training.

The technology landscape can shift quickly – Packt is committed to helping developers

understand those changes, and keep their skills up to date for the key challenges in the industry. https://www.packt.com

Majestic.com map the World Wide Web. The information gathered and metrics generated

provide insight to data-savvy internet analysts and entrepreneurs interested in monetizing an

understanding of the linking patterns between web sites. Majestic has global reach – serving

customers in fields including digital marketing, PR, domain name trading and SEO  in over 120 countries. Find out more here: http://majestic.com

We’re a leading tech company specialising in innovative financial products and we’re proud to

be using our technology to tackle some pretty big issues. We believe everyone deserves the

opportunity to create a positive future – we empower people to take control of their lives and we make expert financial advice accessible and affordable via our cutting-edge applications.

Wealth Wizards are always on the lookout for great people so if you want to learn more about

them then check out their blog/API site here: http://wealthwizards.io

Six Degrees is a cloud-led managed service provider. It works as a collaborative technology

partner to businesses making a digital transition.

Always placing clients at the heart of its strategy, Six Degrees’ passionate teams combine

technical expertise and deep sector specific knowledge to innovate, craft, and manage the right solutions to power their businesses.

The breadth and strength of Six Degrees’ technology is its foundation. Solutions range from data and application performance management through to colocation and unified communications, all with private, public, and hybrid cloud at its core.

Six Degrees works collaboratively and builds long-term partnerships through exceptional

services that match its clients’ needs. It continually innovates the right solutions to enable

clients’ brilliance. For more information, visit www.6dg.co.uk

Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Since our civic beginnings in 1900, as an institution built for students of all religions and backgrounds, we have continued to grow from the radical vision of our first Chancellor Joseph Chamberlain.

Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground,

pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/

ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops

and supports over 151,000 chartered accountants worldwide. We provide qualifications and

professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

As leaders in accountancy, finance and business our members have the knowledge, skills

and commitment to maintain the highest professional standards and integrity. Together we

contribute to the success of individuals, organisations, communities and economies around

the world. Our members offer a variety of advisory services, connecting with entrepreneurs and SMEs to support the start-up and growth of businesses in the UK. Because of us, people can do business with confidence. https://www.icaew.com/


If you are interested in sponsoring Silicon Canal, please do get in touch hello@siliconcanal.co.uk 🙂


Also a massive thank you to our working group leads and members, who have been on hand helping us, all year round 🙂 To join a working group/get involved please email Molly (email above)


Working Groups: The mission statement of these groups are H.E.A.R.D

HEARD: “How to Engage, Attract, Retain and Develop tech talent in the region


Diversity & Inclusion in Tech: BAME in Tech – Joel Blake

Diversity & Inclusion in Tech: Women in Tech – Faye Pressly

Diversity & Inclusion in Tech: LGBTQ in Tech – Mike Morgan

Engagement in Tech – Mitesh Parmar

Investment in Tech – Simon Jenner

Marketing – Michael Smith

Events – Tom Goodman


Follow us on Social Media:


Slack link to: siliconcanal.slack.com

(Twitter Image) link to: https://twitter.com/Silicon_Canal

Facebook image link to https://facebook.com/siliconcanalBrum/

LinkedIn image link to https://www.linkedin.com/company/silicon-canal/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/silicon_canal/


Simon Jenner

Simon Jenner

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