THE organiser of the conferences that helped put Bournemouth’s creative and digital scene on the map says he is “not despondent” after deciding to call it a day.

Matt Desmier held seven Silicon Beach events in the resort, as well as three spin-off Silicon Beached events in London.

The events attracted top speakers from the business, marketing, technology and creative sectors.

Mr Desmier chose the You Are the Media Podcast, hosted by Mark Masters of the Poole-based ID Group, to announce that there would be no Silicon Beach this September.

He told the Daily Echo: “I’m not despondent. It’s not supposed to be a bad thing. I’ve done 10 of these events – seven in Bournemouth and three in London.”

He said he had managed to convince some of the UK’s top minds in the advertising and digital arena to speak at the conferences, which he said helped raise the profile of the industry.

“I think the business in the town have benefited immensely, as have I, but 10 is a good number to have a pause,” he said.

He said it had been exhausting to organise the events and it was harder to get sponsorship with more events competing for attention.

“Business is getting harder and harder and it always seems to be that when business gets harder, we knuckle down and retreat into our comfort zone and don’t feel like we have space for new ideas. I was feeling the pinch of that,” he said.

Despite the increase in competition, he said Silicon Beach had been unlike any other events locally.

“The thing for me is if you want to learn about the boom in digital marketing or how to do something, you can read a book, you can watch a YouTube video, you can have a meeting with someone who does that,” he said.

“What I was trying to do with Silicon Beach was to help people to think that they didn’t know what they didn’t know. It was to introduce them to new ideas and inspire new ways of working, inspire new ways of thinking.”

The last event was Silicon Beached in London last week, with speakers all aged under 25.

“This last London event, I believe, was the most important event of my Silicon Beach career. It has had a profound effect on me,” Mr Desmier said.

“I wanted to give these young people a platform and they’ve proved me right beyond my expectations.

“On the flip side of that, I was astounded by the level of criticism or negative reaction I got from a potential audience who seemed blinkered. ‘What on earth could these young people tell me?’”

Mr Desmier, of marketing and innovation consultancy Wise Old Uncle, lobbied for Bournemouth to be included in the Tech Nation report of 2015, which concluded that the area had the UK’s fastest-growing digital economy.

He had hoped Silicon Beach would join other autumn festivals, such as Arts by the Sea and the BFX effects and animation festival, to create the UK’s equivalent of the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. But he said it was difficult to get equal exposure alongside those events, which had the benefit of Arts Council and Bournemouth University funding respectively.

He said Silicon Beach had contributed to the town’s reputation. “I’m very proud to watch how Bournemouth has grown. I’m kind of proud to see the effects it’s had in Bournemouth and wider – and I’m 100 per cent behind everyone else who wants to throw their hat in the ring and give it a go,” he added.