North East budding entrepreneurs are being invited to apply for a new programme to develop their business, as Ignite, who ran Newcastle’s first accelerator programme, returns home.

Working alongside Northstar Ventures and the North East Innovation Fund supported by the European Regional Development Fund, Ignite will deliver a full-time pre-accelerator programme from October to December 2018.

Ignite’s new pre-accelerator programme will offer three months’ of support and office space plus £15,000 of investment to help develop new start-ups in the region.

The programme will be based in TUS Park Newcastle and give up to 20 start-ups the chance to benefit from investment, mentoring and business support from experts to get their business off the ground. The best businesses from the pre-accelerator will then have the opportunity to join Ignite’s later-stage 6 month accelerator programme and qualify for further investment and support.

Ignite are looking for entrepreneurs solving real-world problems with innovative technology-led ideas and are particularly keen to talk to founders focused on developing new products and services that address the myriad of opportunities created by our ageing population.

Tristan Watson, founder of Ignite, said, “We are really excited to be returning home to Newcastle where we launched in 2011. Since then we’ve delivered 16 programmes all around the UK, we’ve supported hundreds of companies and invested in over 140 of them. It’s three years since we last ran a programme in Newcastle, we know there are so many great entrepreneurs and innovators in the region and we can’t wait to meet them.”

Successful companies that grew from Ignite’s previous Newcastle programmes include eCommerce API startup Moltin, music platform Leaf Music, and baby boomer and dementia platform MindMate. The new Ignite Pre-Accelerator in Newcastle will be run by two entrepreneurs who have previously completed an Ignite programme, including Gabriela Matic, who co-founded ageing related platform MindMate – a health and lifestyle app aimed at people who suffer from neurodegenerative disease, brain injury and other forms of cognitive decline.

Gabriela will run the new programme together with Wil Benton from Chew, the livestreaming platform for musicians he exited in 2017, who also completed the Ignite Accelerator in Newcastle.

Gabriela said, “We’re really looking forward to delivering this in Newcastle. We have a unique perspective in both having been on the programme before and also having been in the position the entrepreneurs we will work with are, as founders of our own start-ups. So along with the investment and network of experts, we will be able to offer the right kind of support to those on the programme as we know exactly what they are going through. The pre-accelerator is about developing and testing out your business idea, and getting your first customers – so whatever stage you’re at, even if you’ve just got a great idea and you’re not sure what to do next, get in touch and see if we can help.”

Alasdair Greig, Director, Northstar Ventures, said, “We are delighted to be able to support Ignite’s return to Newcastle. We want to find the North East’s best innovators and start-ups and we know the Ignite team are experts in doing this and running programmes that support developing, testing out and growing innovative businesses. We’re very pleased to be working with them and I am sure the new Ignite pre-accelerator will be widely welcomed and attract the best, most exciting ideas and entrepreneurs in the region.”

To find out more go to www.ignite.io

Or email the Ignite programme team:

Gabriela Matic – gabi@ignite.io li

Wil Benton – wil@ignite.io