The vision and desired outcome is to build a community that is similar to what’s been done with Silicon Halton, which I co-founded with Rick Stomphorst. We recognize and expect that the needs of ICT professionals, entrepreneurs, leaders and organizations will differ from those in Halton Region. The community will be designed around those unique needs with the members for the members.
I’m impressed with the fact that the RIC Centre sees a grassroots community as a means to develop a more connected network of professionals and companies that the RIC Centre along with the community members can leverage in order to better understand the ICT landscape in Peel and over time help local professionals and companies grow.
In the coming months I’ll provide a running account of how this new ICT community is developing, what we’re learning as it grows and where there are opportunities for Silicon Halton members to contribute and participate and vica versa.
Introducing Silicon Peel
Our strategy, in collaboration with key leaders within Peel, is to leverage the things we’ve done with Silicon Halton that are working and apply them (with a twist) for and with people in Peel.
We’re starting with prefixing the community with the word Silicon, having monthly meetups, using a private LinkedIn group and using Open Space collaborate group think activities like we've done in the past.
We will also be exploring with Silicon Halton and Silicon Peel members as to how both communities can be catalysts for each others growth and benefit.
So What’s Happened so Far?
In October the RIC Centre hosted the inaugural Startup Weekend Peel.
Hosted at Sheridan College Hazel McCallion Campus, this event was well attended, a lot of fun and was a signal to me that there could be potential for a technology community. To read more about what it was like, check out these posts: "Peel's First Startup Weekend" and "54 Hours Heads-Down"
In November, Startup Weekend Peel participants and members of Silicon Halton got together at a “ReConnections Event”. This idea was inspired by a couple of Startup Weekend Peel participants and local tech leaders in Peel. They felt that it was important to get as many of the Startup Week Peel folks back together to reconnect and chat about what’s happened since then.
We listened and talked about how some of the Startup Weekend leaders were progressing, what successes they had experienced one is meeting with a large wireless communications company to discuss product partnership and another won the the Startup Weekend World Championships! They used their winning entry from Startup Weekend Toronto.
Rick and I and more importantly at least ten Silicon Halton members that attended shared our Silicon Halton stories with our Peel neighbours. We wanted them to get to know what Silicon Halton is about and what it has meant to us and how we’re helping each other. The goal was to begin getting us all to think about what a Silicon Peel could look like by listening to the stories from the Startup Weekend and from SH members.
As is typical of many SH events we just had to be able to “socially network”. This event was no different! We headed over to Failte’s Irish Pub where we talked more about building an ICT community and it was decided to set up a Silicon Halton LinkedIn group
I have to say that I had no idea if the event would be well attended or not. These are the risks you take when asking people to commit to things like this. This combined with LinkedIn shutting down LinkedIn events resulted in our scrambling to find, setup and use an alternative event registration service.
But, as has been the case with most Silicon Halton events and initiatives, we all were pleasently surprised with how many attended (about 50), the level of engagement and interest! The future looks bright for a second Startup Weekend Peel and Silicon Peel.
And, there's been a bit of Tweet chatter about Silicon Peel and the event too!
On January 24th and February 28th we will be holding two meetups. One in Mississauga and one in Brampton. These will be visioning meetups using an Open Space approach where we will brainstorm on what Silicon Peel should look like and aspire to become in the short and longer term. Rick and I will be leading this meetup with a couple of leaders from Peel region and the desired outcome is a platform from which the Silicon Peel community will and can be built.
We’ll use a similar approach that we used during meetup #3 in 2010
The primary group of people that we need there, are technology professionals, entrepreneurs and people that support technology professionals who live and/or work in Peel region. We need them to attend because their voice matters and collective voices, interest and passion in tech will drive the direction and vision of Silicon Peel. If there are any Silicon Halton members that want to participate just let Rick or I know.
About the Author
Chris Herbert is the founder of Mi6 Agency. Mi6 Agency creates B2B social networks & communities that build reputations, generate results and make markets. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.
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