Chalk: The new Silicon Valley?
By Sarah Cronk
Chalk, a new digital community for Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes has just launched online.
This new initiative has been brought to life by custom software agency Switchplane and aims to change perceptions of seaside towns in Sussex.
Open to anyone who’s into anything “digital” in the local area, the network’s goals are to increase the number of digital businesses in the area, provide a supportive network to help grow local talent, and therefore make it easier for digital companies in the area to recruit.
Sarah Driver from Rathfinny Estate in Alfriston, featured in Episode 1 of Chalk Talks
Originally intended to be launched as an in-person conference this spring, Chalk has moved online and will initially take the form of an email newsletter and a podcast series focusing on Sussex business owners. It will cover their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on their companies, including the shift to digital.
The first series of the podcast Chalk Talks will be rolled out across all usual podcast streaming channels from the beginning of July, with new episodes on a weekly basis. The series includes conversations between Garry James, Head of Marketing at Switchplane, and representatives from Towner Eastbourne, The English Soap Company in Waldron, Rathfinny Wine Estate in Alfriston, Pure Arts Group in Battle, and Exclusively Eastbourne holiday cottages.
Plans for Chalk started last summer and were borne out of discussions between the local MPs, councils, and other digital businesses in Sussex.
Garry James from Switchplane says: “Recruiting people with the necessary digital skills in Sussex is troublesome, as young talent is often attracted to the glamour of Brighton and London lifestyles.
We want to celebrate the opportunities seaside towns offer for the digital community
“We really want to get across the message that Sussex isn’t just a tourism destination, but a great place for people with families to live, work, and escape the rat race of the bigger cities. Living in one of the UK’s creative clusters, we want to celebrate the opportunities seaside towns offer for the digital community, and that digital brings to the area too.”
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell says: “I love the concept of Chalk and I congratulate Switchplane on this important work to bring the digital community together. Building this sector will be vital and I will support this endeavour in every way I can.”
• For more details about Chalk, to sign up to the newsletter and to find the podcast, visit chalkeastbourne.com
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