Winners of the first Startup Weekend event in the north of England announced

Winners of the first Startup Weekend event in the north of England announced

If you are in the North of England, you might already know that this weekend saw 70 entrepreneurs gathering at Newcastle University Business School for a Startup Weekend event. This evening the winners were announced after 54 hours of toil, pivots and pizza.

There have been over 400 Startup Weekend events to date  with 12 other gatherings taking across the globe this weekend alone. This was the first one to take place in the North of England and it’s clear that Newcastle is switched on and ready for acceleration.

Event organiser Howard Kingston says that the weekend was a great success,
“Startup Weekend Newcastle is the first one we’ve run in the UK outside the London area. We were a little unsure what to expect but this weekend’s talent, passion and quality of ideas really shows that the North of England can match London’s any-day (or weekend).”

The early pitches on Friday saw a ton of ideas submitted. Twelve teams made it to the final show and tell and those were then whittled down to five winners.

The top winners were JobLog, a team that hopes to flip the recruitment industry on its head by offering a video recruitment site with no jobs. Runners up included Playzee, a soccer startup that allows users to share videos of 5-a-side goals across social media, Triptab, which provides inflight entertainment on demand, Mymenu a customized food ordering app and Zeniality an emotional Intelligence Game App for children.

As ever with these events technology was built, ideas were scrapped and reformed, some seriously impressive ‘pivots’ took place (social music voting to car insurance aggregator), teams worked until 6am and there was apparently even some Salsa dancing. The dancing may seem a bit strange, but as we know, it’s good to take a break and do something different when you need to solve a problem.

Headed for the North

Attendees travelled from across the UK for the event with some heading to the Newcastle from Leeds, London and Scotland. Some also came from much further away, including participants from the USA and Spain.  Mid-way through the event, one participant Laura, was unsure about her travel plans to get back home,

“I booked my flight once I heard about the event. I want to take every opportunity  that comes along and this is one of those events that can really shape your future. I don’t know if I’ll go back to Majorca after this. We’ll see how we do on the Sunday night pitches, we’ve great team and I think we can really win this.’

It turns out Laura was right to hold off on her decision as she is a member of the winning team, JobLog.

The mentors available over the weekend included Paul Lancaster of Plan DigitalPeter Hirst, founder of Every1Speaks, Elizabeth Scott and Jenny Evans of Rainbow’s End Coaching,  Yousaf Khalid, MD of Different, Linda Koritkoski, director of marketing at .CO and many more experts and industry leaders all willing to lend a hand to these budding new endeavours.

Mentor Paul Lancaster was allegedly last seen clutching a well-earned beer after spending 12-hours mentoring the teams, he said, “I just wanted to make sure I saw every team, I’m really impressed with some of the ideas here.”

The winners received over £15000 in business support prizes and are likely to be headed for a bit of a rest after the weekend’s excitement. If you want to catch up on the Newcastle flavour for a Startup Weekend event, check out the hash tag #swnewcastle on Twitter.

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