North East business leaders have shown their support for the next generation of entrepreneurship by coming together at Sage HQ for the partnership launch of the If We Can You Can (IWCYC) Challenge.
Now in its 10th year, the challenge works with partners and the wider business community to unearth talent in the North East and recognises start-ups with potential to grow.
Max Haydon, founder of Storage Shepherd and winner of the Highest Growth Potential in 2017, found that the challenge opened up opportunities for the business. He said: “The If We Can You Can Challenge was an excellent opportunity to showcase the business. The whole atmosphere during the final was very supportive and I am thrilled we won.”
Charlotte Windebank,managing director of FIRST Face to Face, said: "This competition is an opportunity for regional entrepreneurs to connect with each other, develop relationships and share ideas in a supportive, welcoming community of business people. Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to give back, 2018 is definitely the year to get involved."
This year’s accelerator partners and advocates of the challenge are Sage - a North East startup success story founded in the 1980s and who are now a FTSE 100 company.
Alan Laing, managing director of Sage UK and Ireland, said: “This is a really exciting partnership about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses within the North East. Sage would like to encourage small businesses to get involved with this initiative.”
This sentiment is shared by partners the Entrepreneurs’ Forum who want to “make the North East the best place in the UK to be an entrepreneur.” Other partners are Brewin Dolphin, Mincoffs, GetFilm, 49Digital, BQ, PNE and O Communications.
The competition is open to all business less than three years old and operating in any sector and in all locations across the North East, from Northumberland to Teesside.
Applications will open in May.