Justin Souter talks Lean Startup
Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

North East digital diary: How to start a business in Newcastle

In today’s North East digital diary, Editor Jamie Hardesty recounts the second instalment of Newcastle Startup Week dedicated to the initial stages of getting a business off the ground in Newcastle upon Tyne.

There’s no single ‘right way’ to start a business. How you do it is down to you. However, if Day 2 of Newcastle Startup Week taught attendees anything today, Newcastle stands as fertile land to start your own enterprise.

Day 2: Getting Started

Newcastle Startup Week, click here to read background info on the event and a recount of Day 1, has been specifically designed to walk attendees through the startup journey from concept to realisation.

After yesterday’s inspiration opener, Day 2 told us how to get started with speakers offering expert advice and tips on available business support and first steps.

Three of the best

Unfortunately I could only attend the day’s morning session yet I still managed to soak up a whole host of advice.

There actually lies the beauty of this event, Lancaster has put together an ensemble so rich that you can literally drop in at any point during the day and get your fix of great tech advice and inspiration.

Blu Sky

After initial intros and thanks, the morning began with John Dugdgeon and Dave Gibson from chartered accountancy firm Blu Sky offering knowledge and insight on controlling finances, mastering tax and utilising support.

A lively Q and A session drew many plaudits from the crowd, and on Twitter especially, due to the pair’s warm, engaging and very human approach. They even drew a plaudit in Tim Campbell (pictued with microphone below), the original UK Apprentice winner, who repeatedly told the duo ‘I love you!’. And they say accountants are boring, ey?

Great effort gents, a useful and informative session delivered in the most approachable and engaging manner to resonate with both upcoming business owners and entrepreneurial veterans.


One of the Week’s strengths is its ability to provide a fully encompassed understanding of niche areas in business startup. Day 2, for example, accrued a panel of speakers who all offer business support when getting your company off the ground, although each institution on the panel had something about them which made them different to the other.

I can’t emphasise how helpful this is. Startup Week has literally amassed everything you need to know when starting up and knowing who to talk to that can help you is something which can take months or even years if you don’t know where to look!

Day 2’s support panel included representatives of Generator, Sunderland Software City,Transmit Startups, PNE Enterprise and Bright Ideas Trust. Interestingly, what came across incredibly well, was that the institutions complement oneanother and often refer businesses or people to oneanother, ensuring those seeking advice can get it in exactly the right place relative to them.

Speaker: Justin Souter

You can’t think Justin Souter without thinking Lean Startup. The man has carved a niche as the region’s authority on the topic and boy does he both know and love his subject matter.

Justin, whose consultancy helps firms apply lean startup methodology to improve their workflows, specialises in workshops and sessions which can usually last a full afternoon, day, week or more. Much to his credit, Mr Souter gave a general overview of the topic, its contours, notable authors and frameworks all in the space of 25 minutes.

And yes, for those of you thinking it, you can’t get leaner than that! I’d encourage anyone wanting to know more about the subject matter to reach out to Justin who’d surely be more than happy to help you out.

Next up

My next North East digital diary entry will be another quick turnaround as I’ll be taking a one day break from Newcastle Startup Week and jumping across the Tyne (well, safely walking across a bridge rather) to attend the Thinking Digital conference, held at The Sage.

For a full breakdown of Day 2 speakers at Newcastle Startup Week, click here.

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