What’s going on in 2019? Insights and Events

It is January 2019; a new year of Newcastle Startup Week and other exciting activities in the region! 2018 was a great year for the North East with the launch of new co-working spaces including TusPark Eagle Lab and PROTO, the release of new JEREMIE2 funds, the launch of initiatives such as Newcastle Tech Trust, and more.

We asked our team and some of our partners what their key highlights were for 2018 and what they are looking forward to in 2019. Check out their responses:

Luke Philpott, Corporate Solicitor at Sintons Law


What were your key highlights or events for the North East Startup Sector in 2018?

The main highlight for me was witnessing the regions start up support network grow.

Each of the regions cities is contributing to the start-up scene and doing fantastic work, Software City in Sunderland is now well-established, TusPark Eagle Lab, Durham City Incubator and PROTO are up and running and Digital City is doing great work with start-ups on Teesside.

Across the region there is a support network emerging which will help develop the next generation of businesses. With Newcastle Helix to open over the next two years the potential for the region to open up new markets is phenomenal. The region can really take control of its own destiny over the next few years.

What key events or highlights are you looking forward to in 2019?

I’m looking forward to seeing how each facet of the ecosystem in the region will join up. As a region we have the facilities to create a world class business growth hub, however each module needs to support the others to create a joined up network. A joined up approach will be key in building on the success of 2018 and ensuring growth potential is realised and not wasted and ensuring that the region’s talent is retained.

As a specialist corporate lawyer and adviser to start-up businesses, I am excited to see which businesses continue to grow and take their next steps, to see how the region will support those businesses and to see how we as advisers can help.    

Any other thoughts?

I’m obviously looking forward to NSW. This is the opportunity for the region to join together and showcase its best assets to attendees, both local and otherwise. It is events like this and Founders Friday which really help keep people like me informed of what is happening around me.

Paul Lancaster, Founder at Newcastle Startup Week


What were your key highlights or events for the North East Startup Sector in 2018?

My highlight of the year has to be running our second 5-day Newcastle Startup Week festival in May 2018! Organising the first event in 2017 was obviously a huge achievement for me personally so it was exciting to see that we could do it again last year and it felt slightly easier and less stressful because we had a better idea of what to expect on each day. I was also delighted to see so many people travelling to Newcastle for the event from Scotland, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Wales, Cambridge, London, South Coast, Germany, Switzerland and the US as word had spread about the previous year!

Following on from that, we launched our monthly Founders’ Friday events at Tuspark Eagle Lab on the last Friday of each month in July with 80+ people registering for each one plus a whopping 140+ in November! These are providing a useful way for us to keep the momentum going all year around, provide a platform for more startups and scaleups to share their story and for everyone to learn more about the latest opportunities for new and growing businesses across the North East.

What key events or highlights are you looking forward to in 2019?

We’re going to continue running our Founders’ Friday events on the last Friday of every month and our third Newcastle Startup Week festival takes place on 13-17 May. After attracting just over 600 delegates for the past two years, we’re aiming to attract 750+ people this year by combining Newcastle Startup Week with Newcastle Scaleup Summit, hosting more events on both the Newcastle and Gateshead side of the River Tyne, and leveraging our network to try to attract an even bigger national and international audience to the North East.

Economically, I think the North of Tyne Devolution is a big opportunity for Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to help more businesses start and grow in the region, attract more inward investment and build much closer links with Scotland instead of looking South to London all the time. The North East has a huge over-reliance on EU funding for pretty much everything which makes us particularly vulnerable to any negative impacts that Brexit might bring. It’s therefore hugely important that we look at further afield at opportunities to do business in the Nordic countries, China, India, Canada and the US which is something we are using Newcastle Startup Week and Scaleup Summit to facilitate and encourage.

Finally, I think we need a much wider range of funding and finance options for startups and scaleups and am working on some initiatives that include the creation of a new North East Angel Fund, a Tech For Good fund and a matchmaking platform for connecting businesses with investors and speeding up the process from idea to launch and then growth.

2019 is going to be a huge year for the North East so I’m excited to see how things unfold!

Rachel Peacock, Tech Sector Specialist at PROTO


What were your key highlights or events for the North East Startup Sector in 2018?

Great question! I feel as though a lot has happened this year, especially in Gateshead but also across the tech sector in the region. Campus North closing was a shock, but its been great to see the community continue and spread across to places like Tuspark Eagle Lab and PROTO. Speaking of which, that’s probably been my key highlight of 2018. Being the first dedicated centre for emerging tech in Europe, it’s a huge feat for it to be in this region. It’s been great to have new businesses drawn to the hot-desking and offer a home for businesses who’ve relocated to the area. Now that the photogrammetry rig and motion capture rig are installed, we’re hoping to see some amazing case studies and collaborations in 2019!

Gateshead is really coming into its own, with NSW coming across the river for the first time next year, more and bigger events happening in the Baltic Quarter, thanks to Northern Design Centre, PROTO and Gateshead College.

There’s a real buzz about the place and we want to build on that, to raise the profile of the amazing tech, digital and games companies we have here and to help educate and inspire the next generation of designers, developers and leaders.  

What key events or highlights are you looking forward to in 2019?

We all know that 2019 will be a significant year with Brexit, and business support and community will be more important than ever. That’s why we’re looking at introducing a full programme of business support in Gateshead, providing free access to expert advice to all types of businesses, through workshops and events etc. We’re also looking to run an emerging tech pre-accelerator programme later in the year as well as introduce a brand new Games Cluster, to be held in Gateshead, showcasing and brining together the talented teams we have here. We are also running a work inspiration programme to help inspire secondary school students to consider careers in digital, health and social care, construction and manufacturing. This will compliment the other work we’re doing around skills and employment with the college, universities and organisations to help improve the lives of residents.

And in terms of workspace, we’re adding another building to our portfolio. Conceived in response to demand for more high-quality offices in Gateshead, Riga will provide 50,000sq ft of Grade-A space designed to support the growth of companies in the region and is part of the Baltic Quarter redevelopment.  The building contributes to Gateshead Council’s wider ambition to redefine the area as Newcastle Gateshead’s new ‘innovation district’ and  is set to complete late 2019/early 2020.    

Sarah Crimmens, Co-Producer at Newcastle Startup Week


What were your key highlights or events for the North East Startup Sector in 2018?

My biggest highlight of 2018 was creating safe spaces for men to share what’s on their hearts, through facilitating my first Men’s Circles. The Circles have confirmed that there’s a huge social need and benefit to holding these spaces. Every attendee has left the Circle looking and feeling lighter because they got something ‘off their chest’ through sharing with the group. The Circles are also a great way to connect with other guys in a judgement-free, accepting environment.

Bringing our startup community together for Newcastle Startup Week 2018 was my second highlight! I particularly loved our sessions on wellbeing, both talks and after-parties. Yoga at Kommunity on Day 2 ‘Getting Started’ was a favourite for me. Taking care of ourselves as entrepreneurs and business owners is vital to our businesses succeeding, so any events, workshops or initiatives showing us how to do this are a ‘yes’.

Newcastle saw its first ‘New Moon Women’s Circles’ organised by startup WeAreCuriousSouls held in the city centre. A beautiful opportunity for women to meet, connect and share sacred space together over rose tea, meditation, intention setting, free writing and optional sharing.

Generator also hosted some insightful mental health events, including a panel I Chaired in October at Tyneside Cinema. It was an absolute pleasure to facilitate this discussion about mental health across all types of business and organisation. The audience especially were one of the most engaged I’ve ever known, sharing deep, honest, and reflective discussion.

The Ignite Pre-Accelerator program welcomed some brilliant teams with awesome business ideas. It was great to meet them and learn about their ideas. Excited to see what the future holds for them.

What key events or insights are you looking forward to in 2019?

So much to look forward to this year!

I’m excited to attend and speak at the Institute of Fundraisers event on 7th February. They’re a great bunch of people and it’s a brilliant opportunity to connect in the field of fundraising.

Also, watch out for the launch of my Men’s Mastermind. A small, exclusive group of men connect on a deeper level, identify and remove internal blocks so they can lead richer lives with more fulfilled relationships and work. Men’s Circles will continue to run also – keep an eye on Twitter @SarahCrims for dates.

Newcastle Start-up Week is set to be better than ever with Lisa on board and plans to provide EVEN MORE value to delegates.

Chakra Yoga and lots of yummy classes, workshops and courses on well-being self-care and loving ourselves so we can do the best for our businesses too.

Lisa van Heereveld, Marketing and Events Manager at Newcastle Startup Week


What were your key highlights or events for the North East Startup Sector in 2018?

In 2018, Paul and Sarah approached me to ask if I wanted to become more involved in Newcastle Startup Week and the new Founder’s Friday series. An offer which I, of course, could not refuse! Having been involved as Head Volunteer with Newcastle Startup Week for two years (my favourite 2018 day being the introduction of F*ck Up Nights, ran by Mark Gardner), I was super excited to continue support from 2018 as part-time Marketing and Events Manager. So far, it has been great to see the community grow and to hear real, positive stories from entrepreneurs about how startup week has impacted them. My involvement has also given me the opportunity to be part of amazing events such as Peter Davison’s talk in 2018, who was the first investor in PayPal and travelled to Newcastle to share his insights.

In addition, 2018 has seen more regional initiatives to help develop young talent in the region and reduce skills gaps. The first cohort at UTC College is giving young people opportunities to learn more about STEM. Also happening that year, Newcastle University joined the Campus Capital network, giving students the opportunity to play the role of ‘investment manager’ (making me very jealous that I’m not at university anymore!).

In 2018, I also attended the 10th anniversary dinner of Teesside-based community interest company Nouveau Wellbeing and was very moved by seeing how Bethany has empowered individuals through dance. The event was a great example of how social organisations are creating real, positive change in the region. Nouveau Wellbeing is a kick-ass company with an inspiring founder and I am looking forward to their talk on Day 1 at Newcastle Startup Week 2019.

What key events or insights are you looking forward to in 2019?

With new spaces being set up in 2018, such as PROTO and TusPark Eagle Lab, I am looking forward to seeing these grow and foster great communities. Although you can frequently find me hanging out at TusPark Eagle Lab, I also became a proud tenant at PROTO in November 2018 (who are a non-profit!!). The space had just been set up at the time and I am now starting to see more tenants come in, creating a sense of community and a great buzz. The first community-led events are starting to take place and I am really keen to see this develop further in 2019.

In addition, social business support organisation Social Enterprise Acumen are developing their social enterprise co-working space in Houghton-le-Spring in 2019. I will be joining the organisation to help them steer this forward, so watch the space 😉 (shameless plug!)

Finally, needless to say, I am super looking forward to Newcastle Startup Week 2019 and all our other events :). It’s going to be a fun year!

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