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w w w. b r i g h t o n f u s e . c o m

Critical mass In the previous section we explored the ‘long game’

travelling across London from the Old Street tech

of the Brighton cluster: the motivations for would-be

cluster to the BBC headquarters in White City, West

founders to move to the city and start companies.

London. The journey also works in reverse. Brighton

In this section we now examine the qualities of

is an attractive city to visit, and several founders

Brighton today which create advantages for these

described how they drew on the city’s reputation

firms and identify the facets of collaboration,

to attract London clients down to visit, particularly

networking and knowledge-exchange which drive

during the Brighton Festival in May, and over the later

‘fusion’ growth and innovation. Whilst these factors

summer months.

provide benefits for firms in the cluster, they may also be extremely difficult to imitate, and we consider suitable policy recommendations.

Figure 18: Factors related to Brighton that represent an advantage 0%

1. Geography The geography of Brighton – in particular relation to London but also Gatwick airport – is a hard factor, and provides a critical advantage for Brighton firms. Proximity to London was mentioned most often by our survey respondents when asked which Brighton factor helps their businesses to grow, perhaps unsurprisingly given it reflects our earlier findings about the principal location of Brighton firms’ clients. Whilst some companies elect to have London ‘outposts’ – often very small or shared office premises – for many, the trip to London is short and manageable enough to be done regularly to suffice for visits alone. One founder

20%

40%

60%

Proximity to London

60.2%

Access to skilled labour

49.3%

Access to collaborators

48.2%

Brighton’s reputation

45.3%

Brighton’s cultural life

42.1%

Access to clients

38.9%

Artistic community

36.6%

Bright isn’t London

32.0%

referred to the train to London as the ‘money train’

Availability of office space

(Interview, 29/02/2012). Similarly, one respondent

Universities

80%

21.1%

20.0%

noted that the one-hour London-to-Brighton rail journey between the two cities was equivalent to

% indicating as important

Indicating Proximity to London as important: 60.2%. Indicating Access to skilled labour as important: 49.3%. Indicating Access to collaborators as important: 48.2%. Indicating Brighton’s reputation as important: 45.3%. Indicating Brighton’s cultural life as important: 42.1%. Indicating Access to clients as important: 38.9%. Indicating Artistic community as important: 36.6%. Indicating Bright isn’t London as important: 32%. Indicating Availability of office space as important: 21.1%. Indicating Universities as important: 20%.

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The Brighton Fuse  
The Brighton Fuse  
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