My Kentish Town: Co-founder of the Kentish Cluster urges for tech start-up expansion
15:00 12 July 2014
James Eder is founder and head of Kentish Town media firm The Beans Group, which moved to Kentish Town in November. He is also co-organiser of tech start-up group the Kentish Cluster.
What was Kentish Town like when you first moved to the area and what changes have you seen?
What struck me was the amazing combination of companies and people living and working in the area. Kentish Town is home to some of the country’s most innovative new businesses.
Everyone we speak to and meet says how much the area has evolved over the last few years. The arrival of the French Lycee, the amazing rejuvenation of The Grafton Pub and its new roof terrace and The Soho House Group locating Pizza East, Dirty Burger and The Chicken Shop beneath our offices.
If you were guest editor of the Ham & High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?
It is amazing when you explore the area, there are a huge number of businesses - many of whom are recruiting. We set up Kentish Cluster for a number of reasons: to help the community and connect organisations, as well as put the area on the map to attract local talent. There are people commuting for hours every day when there could be a perfect role right on their doorstep.
How has your view of the community in Kentish Town been shaped since you set up the Kentish Cluster?
I’ve already seen the benefits of people connecting, working together and there’s an element of discovery at who is in the area, both in terms of other businesses as well as venues.
If there was one thing that would help the tech and start-up community grow here, what would it be?
Support the growth of local businesses in the area through investment in more commercial office spaces. It’s worrying to hear that commercial space is being redeveloped into residential properties.
I’ve heard plans for the redevelopment of the high-street, it would be brilliant for these plans to include office space as well as more shared working spaces, a venue that can host events and be a hub of activity.
What makes you smile when you walk to work?
Despite being part of London, Kentish Town does feel like its own unique area. It used to be ‘the other end of Camden’ but now it’s establishing itself as an area in its own right. There is definitely a community element to it - I see the same people every day on my walk to work and Kentish Cluster is certainly creating that local feel that I believe is so missing in many cities around the world.
What would you say is the area’s best kept secret?
There are some great new places in Tufnell Park but as it’s summer we particularly like Ruby Violet which does handmade ice creams and sorbets. The salted caramel ice cream is a must-try!
If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. (African proverb)