THE hunt is on for ambitious start-ups that stand to secure £100,000 towards their business.
Ignite100, Europe’s first £1m digital start-up accelerator, aims to transform prospects for 10 ventures.
Running for the third year, ignite100 gives start-up founders the opportunity to shape their companies in a 14-week programme, with access to world-class mentoring from digital success stories including Google, Twitter and Facebook.
This year’s programme offers even bigger opportunities as it includes workshops in London and New York, with participants spending up to two weeks working with investors and entrepreneurs in the US.
A six-month incubator scheme based in Newcastle, providing access to offices and mentoring, will also be available after the programme.
Up to £100,000 in investment capital is available to each team, as well as the chance to pitch to investors in Newcastle, London and New York.
Teams receive £5,000 per founder up to a maximum of £15,000, and can secure the remainder of the £100,000 if their start-up achieves programme milestones.
Paul Smith, director of ignite100, said: “Ignite100 is one of Europe’s top accelerator programmes, offering unrivalled mentoring and experience, as well as access to our alumni network of teams and founders.
“We’re keen to attract the highest calibre of start-ups to Newcastle, to be part of the most active digital community outside the South East.”
Ignite100 is backed by funding 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.
These funds are part of the £125m Finance for Business North East programme, a super-fund managed by North East Finance, which is designed to provide investment to hundreds of companies in the region.
The programme also benefits from funding and support from angel investors including Hotspur Capital, SCM Pharma co-owner Fiona Cruickshank and entrepreneur Doug Scott.
Alasdair Greig, of Northstar Ventures, said: “Ignite100 is a brilliant programme for start-ups and not only is it great for the successful start-ups having access to the ignite100 network, but it boosts the already successful digital cluster that we are growing in the North East.
“We are delighted to be supporting ignite100 again and are very excited to start the interview process and meet all the teams.”
Nick Edgar, investment manager at IP Group, added: “Every year the teams involved raise the bar so it will be interesting to see who comes through and what ideas thrive.
“However, it’s not all about the money, and this year more than ever we are looking to create an ‘accelerator plus incubator’ model that combines the intensity of the three-month programme followed with an ongoing supportive environment that sees the teams maximise the funding they have accessed in the 6-12 months post-accelerator.”
Ignite100 continues to build on the success of a vibrant digital cluster in the North East, home to thriving early-stage businesses including ScreenReach, Datum360, Test Factory, ShareMyPlaylists and Palringo, as well as games developers such as Eutechnyx and Ubisoft Reflections, and global software giants such as Sage.
Together with North East-based the Difference Engine, Europe’s first accelerator programme for early-stage tech businesses, alumni companies from both programmes employ more than 100 people, and teams have collectively raised more than £7.5m in investment.
Interested teams can apply to be part of ignite100 at ignite100.com. Applications must be received by June 30. Interviews will be held in late July and the programme will begin on September 2.