Bristol is an AMAZING city for startups. We’re often named as one of (if not the) fasting growing startup hubs in the UK and with such an awesome creative culture, it’s no wonder.
We’re big believers in meeting up with people outside of your industry. Sometimes, you can learn the most from the people least like you.
With that in mind, this list is a mixture of meetups for founders, creatives and techies that will all welcome entrepreneurs and product teams to mingle and learn…
South West Founders
Bristol’s foremost meetup for entrepreneurs and startup teams is surely South West Founders. The Meetup was originally founded in 2010 by business advisor James Routley. After five years of building arguably Bristol’s strongest startup community, James handed South West Founders over to TechSPARK in 2016.
South West Founders is super casual, with a free bar and a strictly ‘no selling’ rule so you can mingle freely, meet interesting people and make useful connections without worrying about getting bored to death by pitches.
The meetup has a good mix of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors and is one of the best places to meet interesting people who can help your business and to learn from others who’ve been where you are.
South West Founders is on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 7pm-9pm at the Watershed, Bristol. Join and sign up on meetup.
TechSPARK and BathSPARK
TechSPARK brings together the people of Bristol who are building innovative businesses in the tech sector. It aims to create opportunity, encourage diversity and spark new ventures. Coder meet creative. Creative meet entrepreneur. Entrepreneur meet talented graduate.
TechSPARK runs regular Techie Brekkies on specific tech-focussed topics along with a variety of other talks, socials and networking events throughout the year – including annual tech and startup awards the SPARKies.
A great opportunity to get involved in the tech scene, even if you’re not a techie.
In the past, the Simpleweb Challenge has been a simple hacknight, aimed purely at developers, but has since opened up to anyone interested in prototyping an app – regardless of technical knowhow (or lack thereof!).
The Simpleweb Challenge is fun and friendly evening where attendees are invited to prototype a new web or mobile application in just 3 hours. Developers are encouraged to create working prototypes, whereas non-developers can create digital or paper mockups to demonstrate how their app would work.
The nights are always laid back and fun with fresh, homemade food, plenty of drinks, a mixture of interesting people and even an in-house DJ. Oh and prizes for the best ideas!
The Simpleweb Challenge is organised on an ad hoc basis. Join the Simpleweb meetup group to find out about upcoming events.
Women’s Tech Hub
Women’s Tech Hub Bristol (WTH Bristol) was founded in 2016 by Serrie Chapman and Constance Fleuriot and has slowly but surely become the heart of all things gender diversity in the South West.
WTH Bristol hosts a good number of events and workshops aiming to get more women into technology careers, as well as helping to organise and promote other women’s tech meetups such as Women Tech Founders and Bristol Girl Geek Dinners.
If you’re new to Bristol or out of work and looking to get into tech (or you’re a founder that’s looking for diverse talent), Women’s Tech Hub runs free co-working sessions at DeskLodge every Friday and a recruiter-free careers fair Tech3Shed. They also offer a mentorship programme for tech returners who have been out of work for a long while and are looking for support to get back in – called ReBoot.
Yena was founded in Bristol by Ash Phillips in 2013 out of frustration with a founder support system that often felt inaccessible, intimidating and old-fashioned. He has since developed Yena from a free networking meetup in Bristol into a global business community for the next generation to thrive in.
The free networking sessions (now called Rebel Meetups) still take place today, except that they’re now hosted in over 19 cities across the globe from London to Mexico City. Yena also offers a membership option which provides access to further support, resources and regular workshops.
The Business Brainstorm
The Business Brainstorm is a group for entrepreneurs to meet up and talk through their ideas.
Rather than a ‘drinks and chat’ style networking event, the Business Brainstorm invites three entrepreneurs to present their ideas or particular issues they’re facing, and the group works together to brainstorm solutions. You can put your idea forward when you sign up.
The Business Brainstorm is held on the first Wednesday of every month. Join the meetup group to find out about their upcoming events.
Know of another fantastic meetup for startup founders and entrepreneurs in Bristol? Let us know.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has since been updated for optimum accuracy and comprehensiveness.
If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.