We’re coming home

Ignite is returning to Newcastle — with new programmes, a new focus and bigger plans than ever before.

tl;dr We’re launching a funded, 3 month pre-accelerator and 6 month remote accelerator for founders and startups in the North East. You can find out more and apply via the Ignite website.

It’s been two and a half years since the last Ignite programme in Newcastle ended. We then ran programmes in both London and Manchester under the old 12-week 1-location structure, before launching our remote programme early last year.

The final Ignite Newcastle programme was also my Ignite programme.

For my former co-founders and I, as well as many startups before us, Newcastle was where our idea became a business.

Although it’s sadly closing its doors later this year, Campus North was the home for Ignite, for many amazing founders and, to some extent, the North East’s early-stage technology ecosystem. It became a community that kept many of us going when times were good and, more importantly, or bad. The community kept itself going, with the support of both Campus and Ignite and the wider ecosystem.

Photo by Andy Kelly

We’ve been running the Ignite 2.0 remote accelerator for over a year now, and we’re firm believers the model is exactly what is needed to build great businesses. But we also think the remote-support model helps to retain founders and tech talent across the country — in the regions, as well as the big cities.

This is why we’ve decided to bring it to Newcastle.

We’re delighted to announce we’re going to running a remote accelerator under the Ignite 2.0 model for companies and founders in the North East in early 2019.

However, before we can do that, we want to spend some time encouraging the tech ecosystem in both Newcastle and across the region. We want to work with early-stage entrepreneurs, supporting them to come up with inspired ideas and then take the leap to become founders, like Ignite did for me back in 2015.

So here’s our plan.

Ignite in Newcastle (photo by Ashley Baxter)

Pre-Accelerator (October 2018 — December 2018)

Working alongside Northstar Ventures and The North East Innovation Fund supported by the European Regional Development Fund, Ignite will be delivering a 3 month, full-time pre-accelerator from October to December 2018.

What is it?
The pre-accelerator programme will be permanently based in Newcastle and provides up to 20 businesses:

→ £10,000 investment (after programme fees deducted, structured as a convertible loan)

→ Mentoring, business support and guidance,

→ Office space in Newcastle for the duration of the programme (with the potential for discounted post-programme space).

Ignite in Edinburgh (photo by Ashley Baxter)

Who is it for?
The pre-accelerator is a 3 month full-time programme that helps entrepreneurs to develop their business idea, launch an MVP, get their first customers and figure out what to do next.

We are looking for entrepreneurs who want to solve (or already solving) real-world problems with innovative technology-led ideas. Tapping into the region’s world-class expertise in both data and ageing, we are especially keen to talk to founders looking to work on ageing-related or data-driven issues.

Some of the challenges we’re looking for pre-accelerator businesses to potentially tackle include:

  • What technologies can empower older people?
  • How can product design and marketing be adapted to appeal across the generations?
  • How can we manage personal data securely and ethically?
  • How will data-driven technology disrupt healthcare to provide quicker, better access to services and outcomes?

And we are open to other ideas!

If you’ve not got an idea but you think entrepreneurship is for you, or you’ve got a skillset that could lend itself to working on building a new business (especially within data and or ageing), we’d love to hear from you.

Ignite in Cambridge (photo by Ashley Baxter)

How do you qualify and apply?
To qualify for either programme, each founder/ team must have a UK LTD company (with a UK business bank account) with less than 250 employees and balance sheet total <€43 million and/or turnover <€50 million. You must also be based/ have a material presence in the North East (County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear).

If you haven’t registered a business or built a product or even founded a team, you can still contact us or apply and we’ll do our best to help.

To register your interest in applying, please complete one of the below forms:

North East Accelerator (January 2019 — June 2019)

The best businesses from the 3 month pre-accelerator will then have the opportunity to join our later-stage 6 month accelerator programme (and qualify for further investment and support) starting in early 2019.

For more information, please contact the Ignite programme team:

Gabriela Maticgabi@ignite.io | linkedin.com/in/gabrielamatic
Wil Bentonwil@ignite.io | linkedin.com/in/fatkidonfire

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