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Ignite accelerator supporting Gateshead tech community

An accelerator scheme from Gateshead’s new digital production and innovation hub, PROTO, is benefitting from access to expert advice in the North East’s thriving technology sector.

The Ignite pre-accelerator, which has been running at PROTO since September to support start-up tech companies and entrepreneurs, has hosted a series of events and workshops with the region’s tech leaders.

Alexis Long, programme manager, said: “The programme so far has been fantastic. With early stage companies and founders, it is all about giving them access to new skills, experienced mentors and inspiring founders who have done it before.

“PROTO has been a fantastic place to offer all of this.”

As well as running a series of workshops and bringing in mentors from Ignite’s network, the team at PROTO have given those involved with the programme the opportunity to work with exciting and fast-growing companies in the area.

Alexis added: “The PROTO and Gateshead Council team have been a great support and have helped us to make the most of being based here.”

Masitano Sichone, founder of Spareable, a startup helping local foodbanks in the fight against hunger, said: “I have learnt so much more about my customers and validated my idea further through conversations with great mentors and Ignite’s diverse alumni.

“Similarly, collaboration with other teams, all like-minded people, in a wonderful working space with a great view has been the highlight of the programme.”

Rachel Burdis, tech specialist at Gateshead Council, added: “We’ve really enjoyed having the programme in Gateshead and it’s been great to see the tech community further strengthened by the mixing of companies of different size and stages.

“The events and activities which already run at PROTO have been enhanced by the Ignite attendees and along with all our other businesses, we’re rooting for their success!”