Networking represents the lifeblood of any ecosystem, helping to bind together all its constituent parts to allow information and knowledge to move quickly between each of the individuals. Greater connectivity and transparency not only helps to highlight and eject bad actors from the system, but also creates partnerships and value that otherwise simply would not happen.

Jon Bradford, The Bradfield Centre

The Cambridge Cluster’s business networking culture is a unique phenomenon and one to which the innovation of the area, which boasts the highest number of patents per head of anywhere in the UK, owes a considerable debt. The transfer of knowledge and development of opportune business relationships through “chance” encounters at events are a hallmark of this region’s success.

What is particularly special about the networking culture is that it is almost entirely privately funded. The business community contributes to its ongoing development through, not only fees and sponsorship, but also through very substantial commitment of time. The model is highly participative and ‘bottom-up’, and unique to Cambridge. Networking is a powerful driver, but the word itself does not do the concept justice! “Purposeful networking” or “Smartworking” may be better.

At present there are around 60 dedicated networking organisations in the Greater Cambridge area with prominent business community players listed in this table. They offer formal opportunities for high quality networking in general business areas, technology, energy efficiency, health-technology and agri-technology. These networking organisations work alongside organic, community-driven networking opportunities highlighted successfully in Tech Nation 2018 through Meet-Up data.

The most popular Meet-Ups include Makespace Cambridge (2,246 attendees), Cambridge IoT (1,210) and Data Insights Cambridge (1,074). Cambridge has a larger Meet-Up scene than London when analysed proportionally to the number of tech workers.


  • Cambridge Network | General Business
  • Cambridge Ahead | General Business
  • CW (Cambridge Wireless) | Technology
  • Cambridge Cleantech | Energy and environmental technology
  • One Nucleus | Life sciences and healthcare
  • Agri-Tech East | Agricultural technology