Taking the initiative.

"Lot's of people never use their initiative because no one told them to" - Banksy Famous but anonymous artist

Have you ever had a gut feeling that what's about to happen isn't quite right? Or have an idea that could be amazing but something just holds you back a little and you don't speak up?

Initiative is essential to asses situations, but lack of confidence or resources to take action may hold some people back - it's not necessarily that someone needs to tell you to use your initiative, but having the right support network and tools to put your plans into action can be a game changer.

The work we do at FIRST is based on the Entrecomp Framework, which follows 3 simple steps; Ideas > Resources > Action and by using this framework, we can help you turn your initiative into opportunities and plans. This process is covered in our free Understanding Enterprise course which can be completed in just 2 days and gives you the chance to think bold, get creative, jump out of the box and innovate.

By taking the initiative we can make positive life changes that help us get out the rut, focus on personal development and/or satisfy that classic question "what if..."



We are delighted to announce our latest job opportunity at FIRST:

Senior recruitment officer
£25,000 - 28,000 per annum: full time, permanent post

To find out more about the role click here and please send your cover letter and CV to hello@youarefirst.co.uk - closing date for applications: 5th September, 2021

North East Times Shines the Spotlight

42 finalists took to the virtual stage whilst connecting with over 300 business leaders from the region. 

Charlotte Windebank, managing director of FIRST and co-host of all three events, said: ““With partnership backing, the awards gave all applicants a vital confidence boost, connections and publicity to grow their start-ups, while inspiring members of the North East business community with their ideas and ambitions to grow.

“A healthy tonic after the year we’ve had and as I said at the events, if you can start a business during a pandemic, you can pretty much do anything!”

Read the full article here  If you would like to be part of the Awards for 2022 contact louise@youarefirst.co.uk

Social Impact Celebrations set to  continue with North East Institute of Business Ethics (NIBE)

In partnership with FIRST and PNE we are delighted to announce an Autumnal event to celebrate the next generation of social impact businesses by showcasing Startup Awards North East’s Social Impact Award winners at Ouseburn Farm.

Social Impact Success: Connecting and Growing Startup Communities will be taking place on Monday 11th October, 2021.

With speakers from NIBE, FIRST and PNE, find out about the region's social impact opportunities with a panel discussion between the award winners and co-founder and chair of FIRST Caroline Theobald CBE.

Kevan Carrick, chair of NIBE goers onto explain: ‘We are delighted to be able to support the Social Impact Winners from Startup Awards North East and to help them on their way with the offer of mentorship to  integrate their values and ethics meaningfully into their business planning, marketing, leadership, and culture. We are also offering a small financial prize to every winner. These winners are a great example to both existing organisations and other new businesses. Ethical business practice is going to help us grow our communities –how fitting that this celebration is at Ouseburn Farm.’

For more information regarding the event, contact carl@youarefirst.co.uk

Leaders on Tour: Tees Valley

Supported by FW Capital, we are delighted to share our latest event to connect/unite & inspire founders from across the Tees Valley

Calling all entrepreneurs of Teesside - it's time to put the fun back into running a business!

After 18 months of survival/pivoting and next level problem solving, down the tools and join us in celebrating, learning and connecting with like minded business owners from your local area.

Based in the Tees Valley, over the course of 2 days on 4th and 5th of November 2021, you and 25 business leaders will be treated to complementary face to face activities including:

Day 1: Thursday 4th November 10:00 - 17:00

  1. A business brunch to connect and build new contacts.
  2. An action packed bus tour to showcase innovations and case studies from entrepreneurs that have shown inspirational resilience and leadership throughout the pandemic.

Day 2: Friday 5th November 11:00 - 16:00

  1. A peer to peer round table discussion on investment readiness.
  2. An inspirational leaders lunch to reflect and share thoughts form the experience.

 To register for tickets and to check eligibility, click here

Events, news, and opportunities from the North East ecosystem:

Whoz Amy?

Amy Clunes, Northumbria University fashion student and founder of sustainable clothing brand, Whoz Amy, started her journey by completing FIRST's Level 1 in Enterprise and then winning the PNE SkillUP Social Impact Award 2021

as part of Startup Awards North East. Amy is one of 7 successful startups from Northumbria University Enterprise and Business Support (NEBS) project which showcased applicants across all categories.

Graham Baty, who manages the enterprise strand of the service, said: “We are very lucky to work with fantastic students and graduates. The ERDF NEBS2 Project has enabled us to further enhance our offer with fantastic opportunities for our start-ups to focus on business growth. It’s wonderful to see the efforts of so many recognised and celebrated through initiatives like the FIRST Startup Awards North East.”

Read the full article here and if you are interested in applying for the Awards you can register your interest by contacting one of the FIRST team here

Invest in OGEL from only £10

Gary Giles founder and winner of Muckle's ScaleUP High Growth Award 2021 have gained investment from BBC's Dragons Den. With their innovative building products made from waste, they have big plans for growth with global patents pending.

Gary and the team at OGEL are launching their crowd funding platform in August. From only £10, find out more and register your interest by clicking here.

Building Leadership competencies in SMEs

It is often said SMEs are the backbone of our economy and for SMEs to successfully navigate through the challenging times ahead, lifelong learning is going to be essential in this evolving landscape. Leaders play an especially important role today as we turn our attention to the recovery of the region and how best to tackle longstanding inequalities in the North East.

Newcastle University Business School’s two Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeships are designed to build leadership competencies, supporting individuals and organisations to develop the next generation of responsible leaders who can navigate challenging work contexts and ask searching questions about what kind of society and economy we want to create.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeships lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and have been designed in collaboration with the Chartered Management Institute, leading to a dual qualification with a professional pathway to Chartered Manager status.

These work-based, vocational programmes allow organisations to upskill their senior managers and leaders and bring their learning immediately back to their workplace.

SMEs can access government funding to support with apprenticeship training. Find out more about our two Senior Leadership Apprenticeships.

Match the fund manager a pitch with a twist event

Tees Valley Business Club members hosted their first in person event since February 2019 at Rockcliffe Hall.

Melanie Ellyard, senior manager of the British Business Bank was joined by six businesses who shared their business investment stories and were supported by fund managers.

Melanie explained that the evening would take the format of a ‘live event’ as a quasi investment committee with a ‘twist’ whereby members and guests witnessed dummy pitches for finance, without knowing which fund they are looking for or who they approached. Members decided which fund they thought would be best be suited to and matched the business with that fund.

British Business Bank have provided £8 billion pound of finance support to 93,000 businesses across the UK with over 180 delivery partners. They are running a masterclass on 11th August alongside Innovation Super Network so if you are in need expert advice to progress your funding journey, Register to join an investor Q&A and ask experts your questions. 

NEL Fund Managers begins lending under Recovery Loan Scheme

The North East’s longest-standing business investor is looking to further increase the number of regional firms with which it works after being confirmed as an accredited provider by the British Business Bank to provide loans of between £25,001 and £250,000 to regional businesses that have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This scheme is open to businesses of any size across most industry sectors access loans and other kinds of finance, as they recover and grow after the pandemic, even those that received support under the earlier Covid-19 loan guarantee schemes are still eligible to access finance under this new scheme if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

The loans complement the growth capital investments that NEL already makes across Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland from the two elements of the £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund that it manages - the £9m North East Small Loan Fund and the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund.

For full details and further information click here.

FIRST choice for upcoming events

  • NEL Let's Talk About Money starts on 8th September 9:30am - 12:30pm which is a 12 hour programme supported by MINT business club sessions are designed to give small business owners the confidence, skills and tools they need to easily manage their finances.
  • Next Gen Networking meet at The Cycle Hub Wednesday 18th August 7:45am- 9am for face to face networking to meet new people and grow your business.
  • Stand up and be counted hosted by North East England Chamber of Commerce is an online event Thursday 19th August 11am-12.30pm is the first trial event where each business will deliver a 60 second presentation to other delegates in the room.
  • Tees Valley Virtual Networking hosted by FSB Thursday 19th August 11am - 12pm to help businesses connected and collaborating together.
  • Innovation Breakfast (Brunch!) online with Business Durham 10am-11am Tuesday 7th September

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