Innovate UK's Innovate Local North East

Posted on: 26/06/2024

“We’ve chosen to grow Mesma in a way that works for us, underpinned by support along the way from regional grants and more recently Innovate UK. It was great to be able to highlight our learning, and most importantly come away with new ideas and avenues to explore as we move towards an exciting new chapter in our plans.” – Lou Doyle, CEO, Mesma

Innovate UK and Business Connect would like to thank all the businesses and regional stakeholders that joined us last week for the Innovate Local North-East hosted and in partnership with AMP Proto in Gateshead and the TechNext24 Festival.

We had a busy day: with the morningcentering on the Innovation Ecosystem, with both local and national providers setting the context, and hearing from businesses in the region about their innovation journeys.

The afternoon  was filled with interactive workshops, on Creative Innovation, Practical AI & ML, Future Telecoms 5G/6G thinking, Innovate UK’s No Limits platform, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Business Growth Support–and how you can financially support your innovation through private and public funding.

During the day we heard five presentations from business leaders in the region, inspiring us with talks about their experiences in starting their business and the evolution of their innovation, the ups and downs, and lessons they had learnt.

We heard how they had used the support on offer from the ecosystem to move their ideas forward, gain customers and help think through strategy, and of course the challenges they faced. The day also included an interactive session by the North East Combined Authority on emerging digital technologies, skills and talent, and barriers to growth.

Lou Doyle CEO of Mesma reminded everyone “You do You”, when others say you can’t or should change, focus on your idea and keep moving forward. Natalie (Tallie) Bush COO of Circadacare demonstrated the help received from a variety of innovation support providers, including Innovate UK’s investor partnership team, in raising Circadacare’s funding round.

Dan Baird CEO of INFINITY27 demonstrated how the Digital Catapult and local innovation support has moved their story forward, and Pete Daykin, CEO of Wordnerds, gave the audience five top tips when following your innovation journey – even when it can feel like Gromit (of Wallace and Gromit fame) laying down track in front of the train to keep going, something a lot of start-ups can certainly relate to.

The day concluded with a demonstration of the work by Southpaw Dance Company which AMP Proto and Digital Catapult supported.

The event aimed to ignite a spark of curiosity with delegates to find out more about the local and national support available for technology businesses, to get you networking with the innovation ecosystem and discover new opportunities.

“It was a great day, and a great melting pot for innovators.” – Tallie Bush, COO, Circadacare

For those who were not able to join us, we have signposted some useful links and content below:

Read more about Business Growth North East

Innovate UK Innovation Hub – All public funding and support for innovation in one place, summarised and easy to find, to save you time and effort

Specific programmes we talked about on the day:

Innovate UK Business Growth – for innovation-driven businesses from all sectors who want to grow at pace. Email:

Innovate UK Digital Technologies Launchpad: Positioned in North East England, this Launchpad is at the forefront of digital technologies applied into fast growth and emerging markets. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with the North East Combined Authority.

Innovate UK – No Limits Platform

Innovate UK Innovation Loans

Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Future Telecoms 5G/6G – Global Business Innovation Program – registration closes 24th July.

Innovation Ecosystem – North East

Here are a few links to the innovation ecosystem partners in the region that spoke on the day:

Advanced Media Production – Proto

If you would like to find out more about how you can work with Advanced Media Production PROTO and details on upcoming events and workshops here, get in touch and please sign up to the Advanced Media Production Gateshead newsletter and visit the website here.

Innovation Super Network

Innovation support to small and medium enterprises across North East England. No matter what sector you work in, if you’re doing something different to drive efficiency and grow, or are looking to bring a new innovative idea to market, get in touch to find out how we can support your business.

Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Bringing together industry leaders, researchers and startups, we accelerate digital technology adoption to benefit the UK – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

“This was such a good event: it really showed how vibrant the locality is, and how much it has to offer.  It was a privilege to hear the companies’ inspiring business innovation journeys, and how they are drawing on the  innovation landscape across the Innovate UK System and the North East.” – Steve Welch, Executive Director – Place, Skills & Knowledge Transfer

“This is the sixth Innovate Local event we’ve organised for Yorkshire, Humber and the North East, and every year I am enthused to hear from businesses about how the support that we provide alongside our local partners has helped them to succeed. This really highlights for me how important it is that we work collaboratively with our partners for the benefit of the businesses we support.” – Lee Viney, Regional Manager, Innovate UK

About Innovate Local

The Innovate Local programme is now in its sixth year and provides an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to find out more about the products and services offered through Innovate UK and our partners, that can really help guide and transform businesses.

Find out about upcoming Innovate Local events.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. It works to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. Its mission is to help companies to grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

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