Crowdfund ignites plan for Tyneside tech hub

A crowd funding project to invest in the North East’s first official home for start-up businesses has raised more than £16,000

Tom White/PA Wire The Tyne Bridge and The Sage Gateshead
The Tyne Bridge and The Sage Gateshead

A crowdfunding project to invest in the North East’s first official home for start-up businesses in the technology sector has raised more than £16,000 within days of launching.

Ignite, one of Europe’s top accelerator programmes for early-stage start-ups, is refurbishing new premises in Newcastle’s Carliol Square so it can continue to support tech businesses in the region with a collective worth of more than £16m.

Ignite, which has supported 50 jobs over the last two years, hopes to turn the 10,000 sq ft of space in the city centre into a large hot-desking, office and venue space with meeting rooms, classrooms and events areas for anyone in the North East who works in technology.

Project manager of the refurbishment Tristan Watson said Ignite has been looking for a suitable premises for 18 months, after it became clear the organisation’s current venue on Westgate Road, which has room for 35 people, was too small.

The new space, to be called Campus North, will be able to provide working space for more than 100 people.

Watson said it will play an important role in the community by providing education programmes, in particular classes will be offered on coding for adults and children. It will also provide space for tech community meet ups, hack weekends and larger events.

He said: “This space isn’t just for people in Newcastle. It is about tech businesses throughout the region. Yes Campus North is about companies doing business but this is also for the community, both companies, enthusiasts and the general public.”

Ignite is investing £30,000 to refurbish the space and turned to crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise further cash to top up the budget. The website allows people to invest as little as £10 or as much as £4,000 in the project.

Different levels of backers will receive a different package for their investment. For example a £10 investment will gain you a mention on the Campus North wall of fame, while £4,000 will make you an official Ignite backer. Campus North is hoping to officially launch in June.

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