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updated 2:24 PM BST, Oct 22, 2014
Technology and life sciences news from the Cambridge cluster

The unifying force of a tasty burger

  • Written by Ben Fountain
  • Published in The Cluster

Networkers tucking in at last year's BBQThe organisers of the Big Summer BBQ believe that traditional networking is nowhere near ‘social’ enough and that their recipe - a burger, a beer and an informal chat - is not only a far more relaxed and enjoyable way of swapping business cards, it also potentially more effective.

Taking place tomorrow (Friday) at 5:00pm at The Ranch pub in Cambridge, Creating Cambridge’s Big Summer BBQ is the city’s only ‘cross-network’ networking event with active support and promotion from no less than 15 of the city’s various networking groups.

That level of buy-in from the likes of Cambridge Network, Cambridge Wireless and Software East has helped Creating Cambridge shift over 200 tickets, with a waiting list to boot. The cost of the event is covered by sponsorship from Red Gate, Creative Front and Citrix. Red Gate has also donated an Amazon Kindle that will be raffled, with the proceeds going to Camfed, a charity helping educate girls in Africa.

The idea for an informal, non-corporate event that brings together industries, communities and skills sets from across Cambridge was born at  the BarCamb3 ‘Unconference’ in Spring 2010, with the first barbecue taking place last summer and a christmas party at the end of the year.

The founding ethos is summarised neatly in the ‘About Us’ section on Creating Cambridge’s website: “Rather than organise debates, workshops, etc, we thought we’d simply bring people together. And we’re convinced that breaking down the personal barriers is the first step towards improving communication amongst all the communities within the Cambridge cluster.”

Paul Smith, one third of the core organising team and himself the founder of networking group, CamCreative says that far more people are “up for it” this year, not just because the event itself is becoming more established, but because they are becoming more familiar with the general approach.

“Facebook and the rest have changed the way we want to interact in the offline world. People are much more used to connecting with people on a personal level and realise that in a networking context, even if they don’t win new business, the chances are that they will make new friends.

“The format is particularly good for bringing together the different communities in Cambridge. When they realise they have stuff in common, that cross-pollination of ideas becomes more likely.”

The organising team is made up of Smith, Mauro Ciaccio of CamTechNet and Massimo Gaetani of BIQ Partners.