Startups 2.0AcceleratorsManufacturingStar of the Week

The North East has been hailed as the perfect location to launch a tech startup.

That was the message from the winner of a pitching competition at the launch event last night of the North East & Tees Valley Startups 2.0 list.

Stephen ‘Mitch’ Mitchell founder of, beat 13 other businesses after impressing a judging panel to walk away with a package of support worth £1,000.

The 14 businesses that pitched were selected from 34 companies from Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Skelton-In-Cleveland, Durham and Newcastle that made up the inaugural North East & Tees Valley Startups 2.0 list.

The purpose of the event and list, produced in association with Ignite, was to shine a light on the region’s under-the-radar technology startups – all of which are bootstrapped, grant-funded, pre-seed or angel-backed.

North East & Tees Valley Startups 2.0

After an exciting evening of pitching at TusPark in Newcastle, a panel of judges made up of Ignite CEO Jo York; Jamie Hardesty, director of communications and ecosystem development at Sunderland Software City; Laura Richards, Ignite alumni, ex-Sunderland Software City & Northstar Ventures; and Jonathan Symcox, editor, TechBlast & BusinessCloud, picked SQCDP as the ‘clear winner’.

The company is already working with a number of manufacturers in the North East to collect factory floor data and eliminates the use of spreadsheets, forms and whiteboards.

A delighted Stephen Mitchell, founder of, told the audience of around 80 people at TusPark: “I’m from the North East and I’ve been around manufacturing for a long time. Moving into the tech scene in this last year I’ve seen the support that is there for everybody, seeing the people in there all helping, supporting and cheerleading each other.

Stephen Mitchell, founder of

Stephen ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, founder of

“It’s great to know that there are people that you can find here if you go looking and they will help you get your business started.”

His success was all the more remarkable because it was the first pitching event he’d ever taken part in.

“Everybody that has pitched tonight has got their own great business and their own ideas at a certain level of development,” he said. “Everybody is going to find their own way especially with the help that’s available in the ecosystem.”

‘Founders must work IN the business, not just ON it’

Judges were looking for the quality of innovation; the startup’s ability to address its targeted problem/market; business potential; and quality of pitch.

Symcox said was a ‘worthy winner ‘at the end of an unforgettable night.

He said: “It’s the first time TechBlast has done a North East & Tees Valley Startups 2.0 list and the sheer quality of businesses on the list and in the room is proof that it was the right decision.

“There’s an amazing tech ecosystem across the North East and Tees Valley, full of exciting startups working across a range of sectors. It’s the perfect location for a tech startup and we’re delighted to be able to showcase some of them with the support of Ignite.”

Ignite runs programmes to help founders launch and scale tech startups in the North East of England. Applications for the second cohort of Ignite’s new Launch Programme will be opening up in January – interested companies can apply here.

Ignite is supported by North of Tyne Combined Authority and Barclays Eagle Labs.