Recap: Founders’ Friday July 2019. Key Insights.

Founders’ Friday is a monthly networking and speaker event which connects founders with other entrepreneurs and stakeholders within the ecosystem. Sponsored by FreeAgent and Sintons Law, the July 2019 edition featured talks on innovation zones, connecting ecosystems, invoice payments, accountancy, personal development, business legals, managing stress and more. Check out our key take-aways here!

Part 1: Insights

#1 Founders’ Friday now part of a bigger community membership scheme

In case you missed it: our Founders’ Friday events are now part of a bigger community membership scheme which is tied in with Newcastle Startup Week! Originally launched to keep the spirit of Newcastle Startup Week alive throughout the year, Founders’ Friday has now been successfully been operating for over 13 months and is looking to help grow the startup community! Going forward, the events will feature a £5 community supporter ticket fee while delegates of Newcastle Startup Week 2020 will be eligible to free tickets all year around. You can read more about it on our blog!

#2 FreeAgent is busy connecting Northern ecosystems

Matt Perkins, from Edinburgh-based accountancy software giant FreeAgent, delivered a talk on their ambitions to connect the Scottish startup ecosystem with ecosystems in the North East of England.

Alongside sponsoring Newcastle Startup Week as headline sponsor for the second year in a row, FreeAgent announced that it is working on an event schedule which will showcase startup-related events that are taking place both in Scotland and in the North East of England. This is an example of its initiatives to helping connect different startup ecosystems.

#3 You can now apply to be based at Sunderland’s brand-new innovation zone

Paul McEldon, CEO at the North East Business Innovation Centre (NE BIC), announced opportunities to get involved with their brand-new innovation zone. The zone will connect innovation experts. such as staff from the BIC and Innovation Supernetwork, with North East entrepreneurs. Founders can now apply for 6 months’ office space at the innovation zone, but spaces are limited. Anyone interested in learning more, can contact the BIC directly.

#4 There is a new support programme for aspiring, high-growth entrepreneurs

Is your napkin doodle the next Google? Managed by the North East Growth Hub, the brand-new High Potential Startup programme is set out to support aspiring entrepreneurs who have high growth business ideas. Justin Souter told delegates of Founders’ Friday that the programme will provide help with market testing, accessing finance, finding co-founders and more! Applications are now live on the High Potential Startup website.

Part 2: Startup Show & Tell

#5 Business angels aren’t always angels. Make sure they’re right for you –

The first ‘startup show and tell’ speaker, Tom Howsam from, shared the story of how he launched his business following frustrations with late payments in his previous startup venture.

One of the topics Tom covered was his route to raising finance. benefited from a variety of funding options including angel investment. Tom advised the audience to be selective about angel investors: make sure the ‘angels’ are passionate about your idea and that they’re not just investing for financial reasons. Would you rather have someone backing you who shares your business values, or someone who just wants a tax break? Don’t be scared to be critical and take your time to make the right decisions.

#6 Chronic Insights are looking for BETA testers!

James Allen, CEO at Chronic Insights, is looking for beta testers for his brand-new platform. The ideal tester will be affected by long-term health conditions and will be looking to better measure and manage symptoms.

Chronic Insights was developed in response to a lack of available platforms that help manage long-term health conditions. It can be difficult to recall potential symptoms from a few weeks back, which can lead to inaccurate dialogues at GP visits. Chronic Insights is an application that can help users measure symptoms, triggers, pains and other experiences that could impact the management of health conditions.

For more information or to learn about the beta, contact James at

#7 To be the best version of you, build on your internal powers – Power of You

Everyone has an internal power inside of them which they can unlock. By unlocking your power you can extend your boundaries, amplify your strengths and improve your self-awareness and self-confidence. Yet, not everyone is reaching out to this power. That’s why entrepreneur Sukhee Munkhchulun announced the launch of the brand-new Power of You conference which focuses on personal development, challenging internal barriers and embracing inner strengths. The event will be taking place on Tuesday 10 September at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

#8 Money should not be an afterthought for your business activities – Vital Accountants

Mark Newton, Founder of Vital Accountants, had been surprised to learn how common the habit is for entrepreneurs to regard money as an afterthought of business activities rather than the number one driver. The excitement of starting a business can easily tempt founders into ‘jumping the gun’ but, Mark says, money should be at the core. If your business doesn’t make money, it won’t be sustainable. When implementing business activities, it is important to consider whether key activities will provide a return on investment or whether they are more likely to cost you money.

In addition to providing financial advice, Mark was looking for feedback from startup founders about their accountancy challenges which will help him refine his business model. Contact Mark if you have any experiences you can share!

Part 3: Masterclasses

#9 Have you considered what happens to your business when the founder becomes incapacitated? – Sintons

Running a business is an exciting journey that involves hard work. But what happens if the founder suddenly becomes unable to run the business?

A difficult question, but sadly one that a number of businesses have had to deal with. Like anyone else, founders can be affected by sudden accidents, or unexpected caring responsibilities for loved ones. Lauren Fraser, from Sintons Law, therefore advises entrepreneurs to consider appointing decision-makers who can make the right choices for the businesses should founders no longer be able to do so. A legal way to appoint these decision-makers is through a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LDA) agreement. To learn more about these agreements, reach out to Sintons at one of their free drop-in sessions at Tuspark Newcastle Barclays Eagle Labs.

#10 Manage difficult conversations by focusing on your breathing – Reach Beyond

In the final talk, Ray Taylor from Reach Beyond provided the audience with tips on managing business stress. Stress, he said, is directly linked to mindset. If your brain anticipates a problem, your heart will likely also feel like you have one, even when nothing is wrong. This can lead to agitation which affects follow-on conversations. That’s why, to manage difficult conversations, Ray advised entrepreneurs to accept the situation and focus on breathing. This will help lower the heart rate which, in turn, will be reflected in your external and internal energy. This energy is infectious and will help calm down the people around you, including the person you were planning on having a conversation with. Handy for difficult conversations!

These were our key insights of the Founders’ Friday session in July 2019! Do you have any tips or insights of your own? Let us know by commenting below, mentioning us on Twitter, or posting on our Facebook timeline

Want to come to our next Founders’ Friday event?

Tickets for our monthly Founders’ Friday events are on sale now for just £5 (+ booking fee) here. (Alternatively, you can buy a 5-day ticket for our Newcastle Startup Week festival in May 2020 for just £150 (+ booking fee) which includes free entry to all our Founders’ Friday events here).

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