Newcastle has a thriving tech scene, but until recently it hasn’t done a lot to shout about it. That started to change last year with the launch of the ‘This is MINE (Made in North East)’ campaign. Now the city is set to go full-on tech mad for five days, during the first ever Newcastle Startup Week.
Seasoned observers of North East tech won’t be surprised to learn that Paul Lancaster is the man behind Newcastle Startup Week. After leaving Tech North last year, he’s focused on helping people grow digital businesses in his part of the world. While consulting on business development, marketing and partnerships is his day job, he wants to help the city he loves make a bigger impact.
“Although I think Newcastle is a fantastic place to start and grow a new business, my time at Tech North made me feel like the city needed a ‘big’ event,” says Lancaster. He says the week aims to “inspire more local people to put their ideas into motion and to attract more inward investment from people who might like to open another office in the city, do more business here, create jobs, invest money into new ideas or even return home if they were originally from here but felt they had to move away to be successful.”
“Most people who have never been before have a negative perception of the city which is at least 30 years out of date. The hard part is getting people here for the first time, but once they’re here, they tend to fall in love with the place.”
The core of Newcastle Startup Week is a series of conferences, each in a different venue. Each day has a different theme: ‘Inspiration,’ ‘Getting Started,’ ‘Funding & Finance,’ ‘Growing & Scaling,’ and ‘Keep Going or Pivot?’ Each event features a range of speakers, both local and from around the UK.
There are evening events each day, too, giving the week a more casual, social dimension. You can find the full schedule here.
Making a week of it
With a flat-rate cost of £60 for the whole week, there’s a lot of value here. Lancaster says there’s a hardcore group of people who are going to attend every event
“Although I’m obviously biased, I don’t think there’s another event quite like Newcastle Startup Week in the UK, let alone the North East,” he says. “It’s great to see people making the effort to travel from all the other Northern cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, plus London, parts of Europe and even the US.”
Lancaster sees Newcastle Startup Week as a potential catalyst for good things in the city. “I definitely believe that new businesses will start, new teams will form, people will get hired, businesses will open another office and money will exchange hands as a result of the event.”
As for the future, Lancaster says he’s already looking at making the week an annual event.
Featured image credit: Bill Richards / Flickr