Starting a business in Gateshead

Starting a business in Gateshead

Living in or locating to Gateshead? Our ‘Starting a Business’ blog series outline the startup scene of every locality in the North East of England. Our second blog focuses on Gateshead; home of emerging technology centre ‘PROTO’, a variety of business centres, high-profile events such as Thinking Digital, and an outstanding college. Check out the scene in this blog!

1. Workspaces in Gateshead

Dubbed ‘The Silicon Valley of the North’ in The Chronicle, Gateshead Council has been busy investing in its emerging business ecosystem. Perhaps most noticeable has been the launch of PROTO, the centre for emerging technology, in 2017. The tech centre includes state-of-the-art facilities including motion capture studios, photogrammetry rigs, VR headsets, 3D printing, optimised sound recording studios, and more. With an on-site tech specialist, entrepreneurs can benefit from PROTO’s kit while exploring innovative business ideas from their PROTO offices or coworking desks (paid or free).

Newcastle Startup Week PROTO day 2
Newcastle Startup Week at PROTO, Fringe Event 2019

PROTO is located at the Baltic Business Quarter, which is home to two additional council-owned business centres. A third business centre, Riga, is currently also under construction. Gateshead council manages a variety of business centres across the borough which enables entrepreneurs to cross-use facilities and smoothly grow into larger office spaces as they scale.

Alongside council-owned business centres, there are some private offices within Gateshead. One of these offices is ‘BizSpace’. Operating from their dedicated ‘Design Works’ building in Felling, BizSpace provide office space, meeting rooms, virtual offices and lightly industrial units. They were also one of our exhibitors at Newcastle Startup Week 2019!

Although there is no shortage of office spaces in Gateshead, the coworking offer is still less developed within the borough. Aside from PROTO, social enterprise ‘NEST‘ operates an inclusive co-working space from its converted lodge. In addition, entrepreneurs can visit local cafes and coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. Popular choices include The Staiths, By the River Brew, Greenhouse Brasserie (Gateshead College) and Arch Sixteen. We’ve also been seen having business meetings at the Morrisons Cafe in Birtley!

2. Incubators & Accelerators

Ignite Accelerator. Photo taken by Wei Ting Huang on Twitter.

Gateshead’s rising emerging tech scene has recently caught the eye of digital accelerator programmes. Newly announced accelerators include Ignite100 and The Immersive Technology Investment Accelerator, who both focus on early-stage tech businesses. Gateshead also recently hosted the national UnFound roadshow which supports digital cooperatives.

Be among the first to learn about new accelerator opportunities by following Bdaily North East.

3. Business Workshops

Generator at Newcastle Startup Week
Generator at Newcastle Startup Week 2019

Throughout the years, a small number of free and paid business workshops have been hosted in Gateshead by various organisations. Workshops often focus on general business topics such as an intro to HR and accounting. Since the launch of PROTO, however, the demand for tech-focused workshops has risen and newly specialised workshops have sprung up. Examples of new workshops include the Google Digital Garage as well as regular PROTO-based drop-ins with Digital Union (Generator) and Sunderland Software City.

To learn about new and upcoming workshops, visit Eventbrite and filter by location (Gateshead), category (Business) and date (this month/next month).

4. Networking Events & Community

Newcastle Startup Week networking at Barclays
Newcastle Startup Week 2019 Day 3 Networking

In addition to specific workshops, Gateshead is known for a variety of networking and business events. Regular ones include:

  • Thinking Digital. An annual event focused on tech and innovations, taking place at the Sage Gateshead. We’re very proud to announce that, in 2020, the event will be taking place a week before Newcastle Startup Week.
  • Newcastle Startup Week; hosted by us in both Newcastle and Gateshead. This annual event focuses on supporting, inspiring and connecting startups and scaleups across the world!
  • The If We Can You Can challenge (IWCYC). This annual startup competition provides (pre-)startups with a pitching platform and mentoring and support.
  • VRTGO Labs Network. A membership-based network specialised in immersive technology. Also responsible for the XRTGO Immersive Tech conference in 2019.
  • Design Network North. A membership body for designers. The organisation provides specialised business support and runs regular monthly ‘rise and design’ events.

We also absolutely love August’s new Paws Networking concept which encourages entrepreneurs to bring their dogs to a networking event!

To stay updated with events in Gateshead, keep an eye on TechDiary: the region’s up-to-date calendar for tech and startup events! For events in the social sector, visit Vonne’s event section.

5. College Support

Newcastle Startup Week and Gateshead College
Gateshead College at Newcastle Startup Week 2019

Gateshead College is actively engaging students with enterprise and we are super proud to have welcomed them as sponsors of Newcastle Startup Week 2019.

Alongside enterprise education, the college runs the Handpicked shop in the Metrocentre which enables students to sell their brand-new products to the wider public. Why not pay them a visit when you’re visiting the MetroCentre next time?

Gateshead College also supports regional SMES through tailored recruitment support focused on improving access to talent. Support includes recruitment of student apprentices, tailored apprenticeships for existing employees, and the implementation of specific recruitment processes to improve talent attraction and retention.

To learn more about how Gateshead College inspires students through entrepreneurship, check out our Gateshead College sponsor spotlight blog article.

6. Business Support

Newcastle Startup Week Sintons Banner
Newcastle Startup Week Sintons Business Support Banner

Gateshead Council employs a team of dedicated enterprise advisors who are able to provide startup advice and who can signpost founders to relevant organisations. However, over the years the borough has seen cuts in funding and startup support has become less readily available. The nearest stop for fully funded, all year round intensive business support is now PNE Enterprise in Newcastle; located just across the High Bridge.

In addition, entrepreneurs in need of investment can approach startup loan provider Transmit Startups, who are based at the Northern Design Centre, for mentoring and business support as part of their ongoing support programme.

On an annual rota, The If We Can You Can (IWCYC) startup competition also provides startups (<3 years) and pre-startups with a platform to pitch, receive mentoring and support, and receive appropriate signposting to support organisations. Startups have until the 30th of September 2019 to apply for the competition.

Finally, new centres such as PROTO are attracting more specialised forms of business support. PROTO regularly host 1-2-1s with organisations such as Sunderland Software City and Digital Union, and have attracted new accelerators. The borough also benefits from various specialised support bodies such as aforementioned Design Network North and VRTGO Labs.

These are some of our key highlights of the Gateshead startup scene. What are your favourite hangouts? Let us know in a comment below or by replying to us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Want to come to our events?

To learn more about the Gateshead startup scene and to stay up-to-date on the latest opportunities, visit one of our monthly Founders’ Friday events and book your ticket for Newcastle Startup Week 2020!

Please note a 5-day ticket for our Newcastle Startup Week festival in May 2020 for just £150 (+ booking fee) includes free entry to all our Founders’ Friday events.

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