Don’t be an innovator/entrepreneur/tech wizard in a vacuum.
An easy way to avoid this (besides checking out our monthly Inno Approved calendar)? Getting involved with a tech-centric meetup group, a casual place for attendees to learn, network, create or just hang. Rhode Island’s got plenty of these groups for every interest, focus or taste. We’ve highlighted 10 of our favorites below — some of which, it’s worth noting, are technically a bit more than meetup groups, but facilitate so many networking events we made room for them here.
Brian Jepsen and Joel Evans lead the group, whose mission “is to help Rhode Island’s digital innovators connect, collaborate, and ultimately make the City-State and its geeks info-technology leaders.” It meets monthly, typically at AS220 in Providence, and features a range of guest speakers (with time for discussion and libations, of course).
This West Warwick-based group offers a suite of programing, from monthly meetings, to tiny whoop races and build nights. It’s open to builders of all levels and curious spectators alike, and ultimately looks to “provide an environment that promotes the education and safe operation of drones and the technology that supports them while creating a family friendly social environment that explores all the possible uses that drones can perform.”
3. Wise Coders
Wise Coders looks to be a place for coders of all expertise to work together and mingle at their regular Hack Nights. There’s also Wise Coder’s Facebook group, which serves as a forum for folks to cruise for a mentor, work through problems, or otherwise chat with like-minded folks.
4. Rhode Island Business Networking
Founded and lead by CEO Kamil Sarji, RIBN wants to give participants a place to “always know what’s going in Rhode Island.” And judging by the size of their calendar, it’s safe to say they do a pretty good job. They host everything from after-hour events to socials, with partners like the EG Chamber and Available Staffing Network, and their reach includes entrepreneurs wanting to gain exposure for their businesses and professionals interested in learning about their peer’s work.
Ocean State design collective AIGA RI‘s monthly Drinks with Designers event has a simple mission: to “connect with designers in R.I. and the nearby area for networking, socializing, and professional development opportunities.” The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at different bars and restaurants in the Providence area.
ICG is a triple threat, boasting programming like hackathons, meetups and career development opportunities. These activities all fall under the group’s mission, which is to “fuel computer science education, innovation and entrepreneurship equally in traditional and underserved markets,” its website states. It hosts a free monthly Code Night with Arnell & Cliff, which Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza recently participated in.
Rhode Island’s first-ever medical technology network group MedMates was established in 2011 to connect entrepreneurs in the life sciences field with the state’s myriad resources. Led by Carol Malysz, the group hosts events like a Pitch Night and dinners focused on networking and a pertinent guest speaker.
“Don’t be shy — develop it” is this national nonprofit’s tagline, and its chapters look to help participating women of all skillsets do just that. “Our vision is to create a network of empowered women who feel confident in their abilities to code and build beautiful web and mobile applications,” it states. “By teaching women around the world from diverse backgrounds to learn software development, we can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.” Events include its monthly Code & Coffee meetup and intro classes on subjects like HTML.
Rhode Island Virtual Reality is interested in “nurturing the development of a virtual reality ecosystem in Rhode Island,” and it does that by regularly activating the augmented reality and VR practitioners in the region with meetups, facilities tours, and more.
Ever want to to marry your love of tech to a good cause? Then RICFAB is the place for you. This volunteer civic innovation organization was built by developers, “data geeks” and urban planners from the Ocean State who have “an interest in solving civic and social problems through the use of creative technology.” It hosts monthly “Code Island” meetups and other special events, like an opportunity to meet Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on November 16.
BONUS! PVD Lady Project
Founded in 2012 by CEO Sierra Barter and Julie Sygiel in Providence, LP now has chapters across the country. Its purpose remains the same: to serve as both a resource and network led by women, for women, whomever they may be.