Bristol is an AMAZING city for startups. We’re often named as one of (if not the) fasting growing startups hubs in the UK and with such an awesome creative culture, it’s no wonder.
In this series of posts, we’re introducing you to the people, organisations and events pioneering the startup movement in Bristol and the South-West.
If you missed our roundup of the best startup mentors, you can catch up here.
This time, we’re looking at meetups.
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…
Bristol’s foremost meetup for entrepreneurs and startup teams is surely South-West Founders. The Meetup was originally founded in 2010 by James Routley, CEO at The Filter. After 5 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.
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 competition 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 winners!
The Simpleweb Challenge is organised on an ad hoc basis. Join the Meetup group to find out about upcoming events.
Bristol and Bath Marketing Network
Mainly aimed at marketing professionals, the Bristol and Bath Marketing Network hosts regular meetups that are a great place to learn more about marketing your startup.
Founded in 2004 by marketing consultant Martin Wright, the group has over 6,500 members and holds monthly events in both Bristol and Bath.
Each event hosts a speaker giving a talk on a specific area of marketing, and these are suitable for anyone interested in the topic, not just professional marketers.
You’ll also get an hour to cram in some networking before the talk, making BBMN events a great place to chat about your startup marketing and meet people who can help.
The Bristol events take place on the second Tuesday of every month at the Clifton Club. The Bath events take place on the last Thursday of every month at the Bath and County Club. Check out upcoming events on their website.
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 run regular Techie Brekkies on specific tech focussed topics and evening social events once a quarter.
BathSPARK is the Bath leg of TechSPARK. They also run regular Techie Brekkies, monthly coffee mornings at the Guild Coworking Hub (1st Thursday of the month) and evening social events once a quarter.
Bristol Girl Geek Dinners
Girl Geek Dinners was founded in 2005 and now has groups in cities all over the world from Europe to Canada to New Zealand and Australia.
The Bristol group are made up of women interested in all things geeky – be it science, technology, engineering etc. Men are welcome too!
Their first event was held in 2010 and each month, BGGD invite an inspiring female speaker to give a talk on anything from product development to gaming to robotics.
Don’t be put off if you’re not a techie or scientist! The Bristol Girl Geeks are a friendly group, welcoming to everyone working in the fields of science and technology. A great place to learn about the latest geekery and meet interesting, talented and inspirational people.
Events are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month. Find out what the next one will be here.
Hosted by Bristol Media, Media Tuesdays attract all sorts of creatives from animators to designers to PR, marketing and advertising professionals.
Media Tuesdays are super informal monthly networking events. They tend to get pretty busy and and are a good opportunity to have a drink and chat with lots of different interesting people.
Media Tuesdays are held on the last Tuesday of the month at different locations across Bristol. Join Bristol Media on Meetup to find out about upcoming events.
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 3 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.
BBMN image via Workbrands