The Ignite start-up accelerator has accepted its first cohort of new businesses in the North East after returning to the region after three years away.
Ignite has selected 20 tech firms to take part in its pre-accelerator programme, which helps local tech businesses to scale-up.
Gabriela Matic, Ignite programme director, said: “It’s our first programme in three years in Newcastle, and we’ve had a fantastic welcome back to the region.
“We have been delighted with the quality and diversity of great entrepreneurs and innovators who’ve now joined the programme. All of the new businesses we’re working with call the North East home, with one even relocating internationally to join us.
“40% are female founded and our founders range in age from early twenties through to mid-sixties. It’s a great cohort and they are developing some amazing ideas.”
Three of the firms taking part in the programme are in the process of developing their own app to tackle a variety of issues.
James Allen is developing a healthcare app called Sidekick, which allows him to track data such as food intake, movement and symptoms. The information makes it easier for patients to track what activities make a difference to their health.
Mr Allen got the idea from his own experiences living with inflammatory arthritis.
He said: “For many years after my diagnosis, I was prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the symptoms and pain got progressively worse until I couldn’t even sit through my lectures at University.
“It took some time to find different drugs that made a real difference and meant I was able to get on with my life. Unfortunately, this too was short term and the drugs started becoming less effective to the point where I found myself absolutely debilitated when I was in my twenties, unable to work, look after myself or even leave the house.
“During the worst year, I started doing my own research and trying out lots of different things – everything from changes in my diet, to different exercises, to meditation. I needed something to track what I was doing against the changes I was making to see what if any difference it made, and there wasn’t anything out there that was easy to use.”
Berna Akin Eris has relocated to the North East from Turkey to launch her business Little Sleeper, which keeps track of babies’ sleep patterns.
Ms Eris said: “It can be very difficult for new parents to know what to do when their babies don’t sleep very well, as I know from experience! There wasn’t this sort of support available when I was struggling, so I thought I should try to develop it to help others. Nowadays so many parents don’t have the experience or support of older relatives or extended families living nearby, so Little Sleeper helps plug that gap.
“It helps keep track of babies’ sleep patterns, and when they should and shouldn’t be sleeping, gives tips and information, and we are also now building a community so parents can support and learn from each other.”
Finally, entrepreneurs Emma Reilly and Lizzy Hodcroft have teamed up after initially finding success with their own individual businesses. The duo are now working on developing an app that can support people with depression, anxiety and mental health issues.
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Ms Hodcroft said: “Myndr introduces the power of peer-to-peer support in a concise, structured way that reduces the chances of you leaving with more questions than you started with.
“It also enables you to get ideas from those that would probably never ask support from directly, allowing you access fresh and new points of view in an anonymised setting. It empowers the flow of free ideas and advice which you can then pick and choose from to tailor your own needs and desired outcome.”
The 20 businesses will also be fast-tracked to the final interview stage of the new accelerator programme that starts in February 2019.
The six-month programme features £25,000 net investment from Northstar Ventures and Accelerate Digital Ventures.
Source : Chroniclelive