November 17, 2017 @ 13:48 by Alison Cowie
Fifteen startup businesses from across the North East battled it out on the evening of November 15 at the 2017 If We Can You Can Challenge Live Final, delivered by FIRST Face to Face alongside partners which included Growth Hub North East and all five regional universities.
The event, which took place at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, was attended by more than 150 people who witness the 15 startups pitching to each table in the room. Over dinner, the guests then debated who they thought deserved to go through to the final round of the ‘Biggest Social Impact’ and ‘Highest Growth Potential’ categories.
This year, the winners included Jigsaw Recovery Project and Storage Shepherd.
Jigsaw Recovery Project aims to support young people to live independently after leaving local authority care while Storage Shepherd provides the opportunity to rent your spare space as storage for other people.
Guests on the night included representatives from the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Brewin Dolphin, Mincoffs Solicitors, Entrepreneurial Spark/NatWest, as well as our region’s universities.
Charlotte Windebank, MD of FIRST Face to Face and organiser of the If We Can You Can Challenge, said: “the challenge gives startups the necessary confidence, contacts and publicity to take them to the next stage of growing their fantastic businesses. The quality of the shortlisted 15 truly represents the talent and innovation that is comin out of the North East. Thanks to all our partners and we can’t wait for the 10th anniversary next year.”
Colin Bell, business growth director at Growth Hub North East emphasised the impact of the If We Can You Can Challenge: “The North East Growth Hub is right behind the If We Can You Can Challenge! In the North East we have around 600 High Growth Small Businesses, employing some 21,000 people, with a combined turnover of £2.4 billion. We want to double this by 2024 and it’s initiatives like the IWCYC Challenge that will help us to do that.”