Near the end of last year, I started thinking it would be good to have a new overarching theme for our 4th annual Newcastle Startup Week festival in May. One that transcended ‘business’, widened the appeal & helped more people see that it offered something for anyone who was interested in becoming more creative, innovative & experimental in the way they lived & worked.

I started using the phrase & hashtag #StartSomethingNew as both a rallying call to delegates & a reminder to myself not to settle, to stay curious, to encourage others to fulfil their potential & to challenge the status quo if it no longer worked for us.

Living by my own principles, I started 2020 by ending an unhappy relationship, moving into a new home on my own & taking on additional work responsibilities whilst also rediscovering old hobbies (music, cooking, anime & skateboarding) & finding new interests too (stoicism, spirituality & vegetarianism / veganism).

Then Coronavirus happened. Everything changed. But in some ways, it didn’t & the #StartSomethingNew theme seems even more important now than before.

It’s a phrase I intend to keep using throughout 2020 & in the years to come & here are a few things that might help you do this too (if you’re not already)…

Startup Week ONLINE (18-22 May)

Over the past few weeks more people than ever before have been forced to use video conferencing & meeting applications like Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, Skype & FaceTime to keep in touch with loved ones & work colleagues.

It’s also been a real joy to see professional singers, bands, comedians & DJs (plus many amateurs) sharing their talents online with the world. Some of my favourites have been The Stand Comedy Club, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Family Kitchen Disco‘ & Roisin Murphy’s living room vibes here & here which put a big smile on my face.

Although our physical Newcastle Startup Week festival has been moved from May to September, we’re still planning to run an online event over the original 5 days between 18-22 May which you can access via our private Facebook Group.

North East Micro Business Fund (TBC) 

If you’re a freelancer or micro business owner (0-9 employees) in the North East of England that doesn’t feel supported by the UK Government’s response to the Coronavirus crisis, please take part in our short survey which we’ll be using to try & persuade the powers that be to create a new public / private sector grant fund to help keep you going until September.

“Grit, determination, resilience & community spirit” will help the North East through COVID-19

Last week I spoke to Bdaily about our region’s capacity to handle, thrive in & recover from the COVID-19 outbreak, plus my own personal experience of the disruption & tips for maintaining mental resilience.

Tell us what you’re doing!

If you’ve been inspired to ‘Start Something New’ (before or since the lockdown, or even better as a direct result of attending our events), we’d love to hear about it!

Please feel free to share any photos, videos or links to your work on Twitter by Tweeting us @nclstartupweek & including the #StartSomethingNew hashtag.

We’ll then Like & Retweet it to our Followers to help amplify your reach.

Thanks for reading & I look forward to seeing what you do!

Paul Lancaster

Founder & Event Producer
Newcastle Startup Week

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