MORE than 100 teams with an eye-opening digital start-up idea will compete for one of 10 places on Newcastle’s Ignite100 accelerator programme.
The 13-week programme is returning for a second run this month, after attracting 150 start-up businesses looking to enter the world of technology.
Ignite100 offers teams financial support to get their ideas off the ground, as well as access to mentoring from people at high-profile companies such as Google and Foursquare.
The funding for Ignite100 comes from the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund managed by IP Group and the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund managed by Northstar Ventures, both of which are part of the £125m Finance for Business North East programme managed by North East Finance.
It is also supported by angel investors including Hotspur Capital, Green Lane Capital, SCM Pharma co-owner Fiona Cruickshank and Alastair Waite of Onyx Group.
The concept is that successful applicants receive £5,000 per founder up to a maximum of £15,000, and develop their business over 13 weeks with assistance from local and international mentors.
At the end of the programme, they can top up that investment to £100,000 if they reach certain pre-approved milestones, and pitch their idea to angel investors and venture capitalists at investor days.
Last year featured a diverse range of start-ups, from chat platform Blooie to interactive art map ArtSpotter, social giving platform Givey, project-management software Usable, social media intelligence firm Odimax and car rental platform RentMama.
This year’s programme features a more international flavour, with a trip to the USA, access to co-working space in New York and San Francisco and attendance at the SXSW conference in Texas included in the package. Mentors include Alex Van Someren of Amadeus Capital Partners, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, Google product manager Ian Leader, Buffer founder Joel Gascoigne, Teesside-based Audacious and Graphic.ly creator Kevin Mann and Shazam’s director of music and content Will Mills.
Paul Smith, programme manager at Ignite100, said: “Accelerator programmes are proven to give digital start-ups everywhere an opportunity to excel. We are delighted to be able to give teams in the North East another opportunity to access the vital funding they need to get their business up and running.
Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance, said: “The international links and potential opportunities offered to the participants of this programme are second to none, and we are confident that they will make a significant difference to the future growth and development of these companies.”
The programme delivers a comprehensive mix of shared expertise, networking opportunities and skills development. In its inaugural year, the scheme sent nine companies into the world.