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with his co-founder, and described how the decision

“And when I started I just thought, seven years at

was shaped by both work and lifestyle factors:

[IT services company], going back to working in

“Lifestyle was a part of it. Buying a house in London versus buying a house in Brighton costs, but I think I’d just had enough of London, really, commuting. I liked the idea of being able to walk to work, a short-ride to work, and the work-life balance was really up there. But also I’d noticed that there were more professional companies there. I think again the perception I’d had ten, twelve years ago was that it

to work for them. I knew there would be a lot of people doing digital stuff in Brighton but I just didn’t think the competition would be particularly hot. And I found out actually very quickly it wasn’t so much that Brighton didn’t have competition, it actually had some really decent established businesses that were doing world-leading stuff.” (Interview 24/02/2012)

was a bit more guy’s bedroom; whereas probably

There is some suggestion of a lag between coming

four, five years ago there was a lot more serious

to Brighton and starting a firm. This is consistent

companies coming up.” (Interview 09/05/2012)

with the notion that most of our respondents were

Brighton has thus evolved into a destination for creative entrepreneurs. The first cohort who moved here in the 1990s and early 2000s have created a ‘critical mass’ which has attracted those with more straightforward economic motivations. For those members who experienced the earlier stage of the

not originally intending to start a business when they moved here – the average age at which they moved to Brighton is almost 28, whilst the average age at which they founded the current firm is 35 (although this may not be the first firm they founded during this period).

cluster’s development, the nature of the later-stage

So what makes our respondents decide to start a

dynamics could be something of a shock. One

company in the city? The most important reason

founder had run his own company in Brighton for

both as a first choice, and in the top three of

3 years in the late 1990s before taking a job in a

all choices, is convenience. This is followed by

large corporate IT services company in London. In

Brighton’s reputation as a creative place, its location

2007 he returned to Brighton with the intention of

– near to London – and several reasons related to

setting up a new technology consultancy company,

creative clustering including the presence of a skilled

but found that the business climate had changed

workforce, industry networks, and clients.

considerably in his absence:


Brighton, I’ll clean up! I’ll have people begging me

The Brighton Fuse  
The Brighton Fuse