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Jamie Hardesty

Could your company be one of two startups or scaleups tech giant Sage is looking for?

Newcastle-headquartered technology leader Sage is on the hunt for two North East-based startup or scale-up businesses to take part in a residential visit to Atlanta.

Launching a new international business exchange programme, the only tech firm in the FTSE 100 has revealed it is specifically targeting its native North East to introduce its inaugural Startup Exchange programme.

Businesses which are eligible to take part in the project must meet two criteria. First, Sage has specified it only wants companies on board which are actively looking to expand into new markets and in turn, those businesses must be operating in the smart cities, cybersecurity or aerospace sectors.

Sage has based its North American head office in Atlanta since 1981. The residency will take place during Atlanta Cyber Week (1-7th October 2017) or Venture Atlanta Week (8-14th October 2017) meaning applicants must be available to travel to Atlanta around these dates.

In partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, Newcastle City Council, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, the programme aims to showcase the talent that the North East has as a tech and exporting hub.

Moreover, the opportunity will provide successful applicants with a foundation to build new international business opportunities and expand into different markets.

Alan Laing, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Sage, said: “Innovative, imaginative and successful small businesses are essential for our economy and are a key driver of growth. The North East is a powerhouse for creativity and our business exchange programme is focussed on helping companies on a growth path to seize the opportunity and break into new markets.”

“We’re proud of our roots in the region and are committed to supporting other North East businesses to grow and expand so we’re delighted to be able to provide a helping hand for those who want to take the next step on an exciting transformation journey with overseas expansion and play a role in creating a region of successful entrepreneurs.”

How can my company enter?

To help winning companies make the most of the exchange programme while in Atlanta, Sage will develop a programme of activities to take part in, including business meetings and conference attendance.

The judging panel will include some of the region’s top business leaders. To enter, applicants need to visit Sage’s Forum for Business Builders webpage

A video entry needs to accompany the application that introduces the business, employee-base and importantly tell the judging panel why they want to be part of the exchange programme. The application deadline is 11thAugust – the first 50 entrants will receive a complimentary 12-month subscription to Sage One online accounting and payroll software.

Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The digital sector in the region has seen significant growth over the past five of years, and is the fastest growing outside of London, now accounting for over 44,000 employees and nearly £2 billion to the regional economy.

“We have a long established relationship with Atlanta spanning some 40 years, which started back in 1977 when President Carter visited Newcastle. This business exchange programme with our sister city provides an ideal opportunity for innovative businesses to extend into growing overseas markets and explore new opportunities.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed commented: “I am pleased to support the Startup Exchange between Atlanta and Newcastle. Atlanta is the economic and cultural capital of the Southeast United States, and a thriving technology and innovation hub.

“Programs like the Startup Exchange offer valuable experience to entrepreneurs to learn and expand their reach. We are proud that Sage chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters, and look forward to continuing to strengthen ties between Atlanta and Newcastle.”

The two North East companies will also be invited as guests of honour at an event held at Sage’s headquarters in North Park on 12th October to welcome Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed to the city.

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