In Business growth and finance, Innovation, News

The If We Can You Can Challenge is now open to all 0-3-year-old businesses in the North East of England.

Organised and delivered by Caroline Theobald and Charlotte Windebank of FIRST Face to Face Ltd backed up by Jake Gebhard and with comprehensive support from the Entrepreneurs Forum members, the Challenge’s main aim is to identify ambitious businesses within the region and help them grow.

The competition is looking for all pre-start business ideas or start-ups established in the North East within the last 3 years regardless of the business leader’s age, ethnicity or experience. Working with the 5 universities, enterprise agencies and businesses within the five fastest growing sectors in the region, the FIRST Face to Face team are aiming to create a co-produced, inclusive challenge that will ensure that start-up businesses can access the help and suitable support they need to thrive.

This year all start-ups who make it to the second round will receive relevant and constructive feedback from leading business experts to help them ‘stay and grow’ their business in the region. Applicants will be given introductions to industry contacts, mentors and finance-providers and will receive publicity through various media platforms. With a 300-word maximum ‘Sell your business to us’ application, the opportunity to be involved is just a couple of clicks away.

Confirmed sponsors and supporters include: Entrepreneurs Forum, PNE, TEDCO, North East Finance, Evolution LLP, the five regional universities, Federation of Small Businesses, the North East LEP Growth Hub, Campus North, Toffee Factory, Newcastle Enterprise Centres, Digital City and BQ as our media partner.

Deadline for entries is 16th of October, 2016 and the shortlisted companies and the business idea winner will be showcasing their start-ups at BALTIC: Centre for Contemporary Art on 16th November, 2016 in the middle of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The exhibition will be followed by a celebratory dinner where attendees will crown the IWCYC winner and celebrate new talent, innovation and achievement.

Caroline Theobald CBE said: “Feedback from the entrants last year prompted us to think carefully about how to offer them maximum support. By working closely with the 5 regional universities, enterprise agencies and regional businesses and involving them in the Challenge process we will give the region’s start-ups the best possible growth prospects whilst banging the drum for collaboration across the enterprise ecosystem.”

Charlotte Windebank, MD of FIRST Face to Face said: “The aim of the Challenge is to signpost start-ups and those with business ideas to the relevant and exciting opportunities the region has to offer. Last year’s winners highlighted the creativity and innovation that’s happening in the North East and if we all work together the Campaign this year can really help those just starting out and show the rest of the world the quality of start-ups that are coming from our region!”

For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visit

For any questions or if you’re interested in becoming a partner, please email: Charlotte on [email protected]

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