Start-up businesses from across the North East battled it out on Thursday 22nd November at the 10th annual If We Can You Can Challenge grand final.
150 people attended the evening event at BALTIC: Centre for Contemporary Art, with the 15 startups pitching to each table in the room.
Over dinner the guests chose MiCarePlan as the startup with the Biggest Social Impact and StratoBooster as the organisation with the Highest Growth potential. Alongside the award, winners will also receive a trip to a startup business expo or conference of their choice, a legal advice package from Mincoffs Solicitors, Metro Business Pass from Nexus, a promotional video from GetFilm, 12 months mentoring from PNE and tickets to startupweek 2019.
MiCarePlan is a revolutionary solution showcasing a digital alternative to documentation in care. Designed for those on the front line, the business works to empower staff and enable the utilisation of data to support safer and more effective care. Shantelle Million-Lawson, founder & managing director of MiCarePlan, said: "I was lucky enough to be here last year as a guest but doing it as one of the pitching businesses was definitely different, a lot more overwhelming and nerve-wracking but the whole atmosphere has been brilliant. “Every table has been fantastic asking amazing questions. It has been a friendly atmosphere and you can tell the people in the room genuinely want to help people progress.”
Second winner StratoBooster is an organisation with big plans to help small organisations launch small satellites into space using high altitude balloons. Andrew Dunn & Ben Massey, Aerospace Engineering students at Teesside University & co-founders of StartoBooster, said: “We can’t believe it. At the Ones to Watch final on the 26th October we really didn’t expect to win but were excited to be in the final 3 - we had the same feeling tonight and we are just blown away with the support of the room. “We couldn’t have done it without Teesside Launchpad supporting us. It has been an incredible journey so far and we can’t wait to keep going.”
Attendees at the event included representatives from Deloitte, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Brewin Dolphin, Mincoffs Solicitors, PNE Enterprise, Teesside University, GetFilm, O Communications, BQ and all five of the region’s universities.
Jo Robertson, associate director at Deloitte, opened the evening by welcoming guests and advising that she and her team at Deloitte were “delighted to be the If We Can You Can’s Regional Partner of 2018.”
Commenting on the evening, Jo said: “The North East economy is based on lots of businesses that are growing and startups are fundamentally important to that. It has been really encouraging to hear some truly fantastic pitches with so many people wanting them to do well.”
By bringing together a selection of the North East’s top business people, the 15 startup finalists were able to impress, network and improve their business through connections made on the night.
Charlotte Windebank, MD of FIRST and organiser of the If We Can You Can Challenge, said: “Tonight is about gaining pitching experience, building connections and having fun. We really encourage all the finalists to help each other and keep in touch and we love being able to facilitate contacts for startups to grow. It really is an honour to hear all of their inspiring ideas. “I cannot thank our partners enough for making the 10th anniversary a truly great one.”
Next year the If We Can You Can Challenge is preparing to return with an even larger events calendar and all involved in making this happen, applaud all the startups shortlisted.
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