Final day of Newcastle Startup Week 2018 inspires ambition and optimism

May 21, 2018

The final day of Newcastle Startup Week considers ‘keep going or pivot?’ for startups. Speakers also discussed how to cope with and embrace failure.

Lizzy Hodcroft, founder of Sweet Beets, talked candidly about her path from emotional insecurity and self harm to founding her business, which was part of her recovery. Hodcroft states that 49% of innovators suffer from mental health problems.  She also talked about perceptions of success. You should have ambition, but making comparisons to billion dollar companies can be egregious, and ultimately could be a source of depression.

Saul Gowens, founder of Websand – a data driven email marketing platform, discussed focus and long term ideas for those in attendance. A major aspect of his talk was identifying potential causes of the end of businesses. These can include running out of money, a dysfunctional team, barely survivng, or the best option, selling the company.

He also tackled bias and how it can hold up the development of a startup.

The swimmer bias, can be detrimental Gowens states. Simply following in the footsteps of another company cannot guarantee success. In addition, he drew attention to what he referred to as a particularly male issue of producing overly positive forecasts.

Lizzy Washington and Michael Dean, gave a talk essentially on how not to run an agency. Firstly, have a rounded view of the business and know when to delegate.

Secondly, you must be prepared to have difficult conversations. You musn’t allow yourself to become complacent or unable to make tough decisions.

Always acknowledge risks and red flags. Including poor financial advisers, and waiting too long for payments. Also take time to reflect with bad decisions.

To round off the whole event, cllr Kim McGuiness (pictured) cabinet member for communities, culture and sport, discussed the impact of events such as Newcastle Startup Week, and how they are a display of the future of Newcastle.

She was there also to make a political commitment to entrepreneurs, without bringing party politics into the mix. She stated that innovation is imbedded in Newcastle, and that Newcastle is at the heart of modern Britain. An example posited by McGuiness, was Newcastle’s bid for Channel Four to move outside of London.

She also stated that the potential introduction of a Mayor for Newcastle in 2019 will help streamline investment for tech business.

Following an inspiring week of guest speakers, city-wide venues and learning lessons for entrepreneurs and startups, we already can’t wait for Newcastle Startup Week 2019. For further information visit – www.newcastlestartupweek.com.

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