Startup Awards North East How it works

Startup Awards North East unites our business ecosystem and supports early stage founders throughout their journey to drive economical and social impact for the North East.

Delivering high energy, yearlong, engaging activities which provide meaningful connections for applicants of all levels and alongside our partners.

ideas prize

if you're curious about starting up

Do you love the idea of being your own boss? Do you want to make some extra cash and have a side hustle alongside your current role or studies?

You may not even have a business idea but you want to explore opportunities, or if you do have an idea this is the perfect opportunity to test ideas without having to take that scary leap into the unknown. Your application to SkillUP can provide you with the support you need.

You will meet likeminded peers, mentors and have the opportunity to develop your passion and ideas to begin your startup journey.


I'm interested

If you've Just started

Are you a registered sole trader or business with Companies House for less than 4 years? Are you starting to gain interest and support but are looking to generate more business enquires?

Do you need resources such as funding or advice on how to give your startup the boost that it needs so you can quit your day job and focus on your journey to success?

You will be immersed into the regions business community and have access to all the resources you need to make your startup a success.

I'm interested

Looking to Grow your startup

Do you have a solid business plan and customers generating you revenue but have ambitions to grow and scale up your business?

If you want to take action and are looking to really grow your business but need support and the right connections to help you to hire staff, get your next premises or expand your supply chain and get funding opportunities to help you to grow then ScaleUP is for you.

You will make real connections to the right people who can provide support, advice and services to take your business to the next level.

I'm interested

Awards timeline


January - March
Ready...set...GO! Get your application in early to become part of the Startup community and connect with likeminded peers who share your entrepreneurial spirit. Apply online now or if you have any questions about the Startup Awards or how to apply contact


April - May
NEL Fund Managers are the Startup Awards North East Accelerator Partner. You will have access to 12 hours of training, workshops and support. The activities will run online with weekly sessions delivered by FIRST team and in collaboration with partners and industry leaders. If you want to develop skills to support your business journey and get some tips and tricks which can enhance your chances to be shortlisted, then these sessions are for you. Register your interest in the Accelerator sessions.


May - June
Our partners and judges will work through your applications and you will be notified if you have made it to the final for your category- SkillUP, StartUP, ScaleUP giving you the opportunity to win one of the 2 awards; Growth Award and Social Impact Award.


This will be a virtual event, not like any other! Uniting early stage founders with business professionals, and partners to connect the whole of the North East business community. Shortlisted applicants share their business ideas, and we celebrate together with fun interactive, networking, exhibitions, and entertainment! • 15th June SkillUP • 16th June StartUP • 17th June ScaleUP


July - December
Startup Awards are not just about a 3 day event bonanza. We are committed to support your ongoing journey. Strengthen your relationships by engaging with the Startup community, and winners will receive pledged support from our dedicated partners. The FIRST team will keep in touch with all applicants to offer help and signpost you to services you may need and celebrate your wins each step of your journey with the Startup community.


The Startup Awards North East are fully inclusive, and open to anyone over 16 years old in the North East Region. Whether you are curious about starting up and want to explore opportunities and ideas, or you are a registered sole trader or business established less than 4 years the awards are open to all levels of experience so there is a category to suit you.

To see the full list of criteria please take a look at the Awards Terms and Conditions


Terms and conditions

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