Day 5: Recap and Lessons

Newcastle Startup Week 2019 ended with a ‘BANG’ at NatWest Entrepreneurial Spark. The day included inspiring talks from entrepreneurs who’ve gone through both personal and professional challenges and who shared advice on how to manage well-being and pivot. We have outlined our key insights of the day below.

#1 Employee, worker or freelancer? Be aware of employment rights – Sintons

Taking on an employee or freelancer? Make sure you’re aware which employment category they should fall into. In their employment workshop, Catherine Hope and Laura Tennet (Employment Solicitors at Sintons) explained that in a court of law, employment status is based on practice rather than what’s on paper. Key differences between employees and freelancers include the level of mutual obligation. Is the worker required to complete the work you are giving them, and are you expected to give them work in return? Then they might be an employee. To determine the employment status of an individual, you can talk to Sintons at one of their weekly drop-ins at Tuspark Newcastle Eagle Labs or approach them at one of our Founders’ Friday events.


#2 Don’t let any fucker get in the way – Heels & Brogues Network

‘Stop having big dreams. You are better off working at McDonalds. You are never going to make it’. It is shocking how words like these can impact our beliefs and behaviours, particularly when they affect us from childhood. Helen Trueman (Founder, Heels & Brogue Network) gave an inspirational talk on how she overcame such negative psychological barriers, followed her dreams, and successfully started her own business. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do: just do it and believe in yourself!


#3 The biggest fight in life is the one you fight within – Gary Mutimer

Gary Mutimer, Co-Founder at 360 VR Studio, shared the story of how, after serving the army, he found himself bound to the hospital bed on most days. After a prolonged period of low moods, Gary fought back and decided to take his fate into his own hands. He started his own VR business, as “the only thing you can do is to bounce back.” In his inspirational talk, Gary taught us that the biggest fight in life is the one you fight within, and the barriers that we put up ourselves.


#4 Are you driving or are you driven? – STORM Fitness

There is a difference between driving, and being driven. Spencer Davey (Founder, STORM Fitness), asked the audience whether they’re passionate about their business and what they do. Are you just driving toward your business goals, or are you driven? What happens if you reach your goals, have everything, but it’s still not enough? Spencer encouraged us to answer the difficult question about what drives us, what we want from life, and how our business journey helps us fulfil that.


#4 Focus on asking the right questions, not just giving the right answers – Kick Cards

How can you provide the right answers for your business, if you don’t know what questions to ask? In his talk on the art of enquiries, James Rutherford (Founder, Kick Cards) encouraged the audience to ask creative questions that challenge their business models. What are the assumptions you are making? If anyone was out to destroy your business, how would they do it? To help founders ask the right questions, James developed a creative card deck, called Kick Cards, which he launched at Startup Week! For more information about the card deck, visit the Kick Cards website.


#5 Pause, Allow, Accept, Acknowledge – Sarah Crimmens

As entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to be in ‘overdrive’ mode, constantly running at 100 miles per hour and chasing our audacious goals. Stop. Pause. And check-in with your inner self and your feelings. That is the advice our very own Sarah Crimmens shared with the audience on 17 May 2019. Allow yourself to feel, whether it is good or ‘bad’. Accept and acknowledge how you feel, and if you are feeling low: give yourself what you need. Taking time for yourself is okay, and often helps you recharge and actually become more productive!


#6 Newcastle Startup week is not just for Newcastle – Plan Digital

In his closing talk, Paul Lancaster (Founder, Newcastle Startup Week & Plan Digital UK) shared our next steps and findings of the startup week impact report. He highlighted that Newcastle Startup Week is not just for Newcastle. We have a reach well beyond the North East. However, more people from London have travelled to the event than from some nearby areas. Going forward, we therefore call upon nearby areas, like Sunderland, Durham and South Tyneside, to work with us to help develop the Newcastle Startup Week brand and extend the impact of the event to even more people. We are looking into introducing more fringe events in other localities and are excited to collaborate in other ways. Get in touch now with your suggestions or ideas.


Thank you to all our delegates, supporters, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and volunteers for making Newcastle Startup Week 2019 a massive success!

Our tickets for 2020 are now live and can be purchased from Eventbrite (early bird discount now active!).

Can’t wait that long? Check out our Founders’ Friday events which take place every last Friday of the month from 10am – 3pm at Tuspark Newcastle Eagle Labs.


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