Tuesday night saw the launch of the Tech4GoodBath meetup group. The organisers want to bring people from the tech and digital sector in Bath together with people from the not-for-profit sector to share their skills. Linked to NetSquared, a global network of non-profit tech leaders, the plan is to help social enterprises to understand and use the digital tools which can help run their projects more efficiently and help them spread the word about what they are doing to a wider audience.

Organiser Annie Legg (pictured left) said “We have a passion to create a movement in Bath to help social enterprise locally, but which also looks at what people are doing nationally and internationally to connect people to the tech solutions that will work for them.”

There was clearly an appetite for this kind of collaboration, as the room was filled with the people who are behind a vast array of social enterprises, as well as developers looking to get involved.

Simple skills shared lead to big results

Local entrepreneur and data rights champion William Heath (above in main image) provided the attendees with some great examples where some simple digital and social media skills have helped spread the message to promote some great community projects. These included The Bell Inn and Bath City FC  which are both now successful community-owned concerns.

This being an introductory night, there were a lot of people letting the group know what help and services were available to those wanting to get involved with the tech for good sector in the area. However, future events will be guided by what its members need or think will be useful.

Here are a few of the organisations who were looking for people to get involved or offering services for charities and social enterprise:

  • Social Enterprise and Innovation Business Support Programme (SEIP): Rosie Bennett from the University of Bath Innovation Centre, with help from Miranda Khamis from Food Drop (a charity set up by university students to distribute food that would otherwise be wasted that has already benefited from the programme), explained that the SEIP is available to help with business planning, coaching and mentoring for social enterprises.
  • Bath Digital Festival: Organiser Jess Docherty told the group they are planning a whole Tech for Good day as part of their 6-day event celebrating tech and digital in Bath being held in 17-22 October and was looking for people to get involved.
  • Localgiving Banes: Localgiving’s James Carlin explained that the organisation can provide up to £250 of match funding for charities and will help with marketing your social enterprise campaigns (180 organisations in the area have already raised £125k through localgiving).
  • Cast: Ellie Hale from the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology explained the organisation was looking to showcase all the tech for good and social enterprise meetups across the UK. Cast also runs a very useful Awesome Tech for Good Github page which lists projects, organisations, funding sources and tools for social-impact tech.
  • Resonance: Resonance runs a Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief Fund where investors can loan money to social enterprises. This lets enterprises that are planning projects with a big social impact to borrow money to buy, refurbish or build an asset to benefit the local community at a reduced unsecured loan rate (4-8.5% as compared to typical 20% business loan rates).
    Bath Hacked Accessible Bath logo
  • Bath:Hacked: The meetup which looks at ways of using open public data are looking for volunteers to help with an Accessible Bath public mapping event on 13 May to map accessible spaces in the city.
  • Girl Stats: Kunera Moore mentioned how Girl Stats was looking to help business to positively impact the lives of adolescent girls.
  • The SPARKies: And of course we were keen to mention that nominations for the SPARKies ‘Good’ award are open until the 19 March, allowing those using tech for good to show off what they are doing, and hopefully win the award on the night of the SPARKies awards.

The Tech4Good Bath meetup is also keen for other people to get involved with organising the nights – so if you can help out – just let them know:

You can join and talk to the organisers at the Tech4Good Bath Meetup group, and keep up with what is happening by following them on Twitter here: @tech4goodbath.

Jamie Middleton