From education to employment



Students at Newcastle College met some of the region’s top entrepreneurs this week at the first ever Newcastle Startup Day within its Synergy Hub.

Produced in collaboration with the team behind Newcastle Startup Week, this event was created especially for Newcastle College students with sessions mirroring core themes from the popular startup week festival, covering ‘inspiration, getting started, funding and finance, growing and scaling and keep going or pivot’.

Led by the Enterprise Hub’s first Entrepreneur in Residence and founder of Newcastle Startup Week, Paul Lancaster, the event saw over 40 students and 15 businesses taking part.

Most of the event took place within the College’s Enterprise Hub, based within the wider Synergy Hub on Rye Hill campus in Newcastle City Centre, a space that offers ambitious businesses access to flexible co-working space, where they can work collaboratively with students and education professionals and access a talent pipeline.

Grant Glendinning, Executive Principal of NCG North, welcomed the students and businesses alongside Paul Lancaster and the College’s Director of Industrial Strategy Andrew Esson.

The inspiration session was delivered by three local entrepreneurs; founder and director of Powder Butterfly Corinne Lewis-Ward, managing director of Wubbleyou Mark Renney and award-winning Geordie voiceover artist Dan Pye.

Paul Lancaster led the session on getting started followed by a breakout session where teams of students discussed ideas they already had for a business, brainstormed new ideas and worked on live project briefs set on the day.

A session on funding and finance was led by Andy Thomas of Abacus Jack Accountancy, before a panel discussion with Scaleup North East project manager Ailsa Anderson, partner and head of corporate finance at Ryecroft Glenton Carl Swansbury and partner at Mercia Asset Management Aaron Lawson-Clark, chaired by Andrew Esson.

Talking about growing and scaling your business saw founder and managing director of Bonded Agency Steve Underwood joined by Alison Reynolds of Reynolds HR and OD Limited. Managing director of Serious Group Paul Davison, owner of Newcastle Eagles Basketball Club Paul Blake and CEO of Moja Group Sophie Milliken ended the day talking about keep going or pivot.

Throughout the event the students were able to discuss what they’d learned with the speakers in a series of breakout sessions.

Paul Lancaster said: “The purpose of our Newcastle Startup Day event was to inspire, motivate and educate students on what it takes to start their own business or be entrepreneurial within an existing one. It was also an opportunity for local businesses to forge links with Newcastle College and find students that can work with them on short-term projects or potentially join them as apprentices and even employees beyond their studies.

“Having not run any in-person events since before the lockdown, I was delighted by how well our first Newcastle Startup Day event went in terms of student engagement. I’m looking forward to running more events in the College’s Enterprise Hub in the future.”

Grant Glendinning added: “The Enterprise Hub is a facility for local businesses to grow their network and to support them with innovation and growth, by bringing education and business together. It is a fantastic space and Newcastle Start Up Day is just the type of event we need to welcome more businesses to see for themselves how working with our students can provide a two-way benefit. The students taking part on the day said they really enjoyed hearing the stories of local entrepreneurs and learning what starting and running a business is really like.”

The Enterprise Hub at Newcastle College offers a flexible and low-cost city centre working environment where businesses can be based and work alongside like-minded professionals with the opportunity to learn from one another and collaborate.

Resident businesses based at the Enterprise Hub can benefit from practical business support and advice from Newcastle College staff, as well as access to training opportunities, advice on apprenticeships and recruitment and collaboration with talented students.

Rental costs start from as little as £60 per month in exchange for sharing a small proportion of time, skills, knowledge and experience with Newcastle College students. This may be through live briefs, workshops, lectures or project work, with support and guidance from college teams.

Entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-ups can find out more at:

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