North East start-ups are being offered the chance to take part in an international exchange programme to Atlanta, Newcastle’s sister city.
The business exchange programme is being led by tech giant Sage , which is looking to showcase the talent available in Newcastle’s tech and exporting sectors.
Firms specialising in technology for smart cities, cybersecurity or aerospace sectors are being urged to apply for the programme. The two successful firms must also be looking to expand into new markets.
Alan Laing, Sage’s managing director of UK and Ireland, 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.”
The visit to Atlanta is being organised in collaboration with the UK Department for International Trade, Newcastle City Council , Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.
It will take place during Atlanta Cyber Week (the week beginning October 1 2017) or Venture Atlanta Week (the week beginning October 8). Applicants are being asked to apply online and produce a video entry that introduces the business, its employee-base, and explains why they wish to be part of the programme.
The trip is understood to be coinciding with a visit to the North East by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.
Atlanta boasts strong financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. The city’s gross metropolitan product value – the measure of the goods and services an area produces – is $312.5bn, meaning firms that prove successful in the programme are being offered the chance to tap into a huge market.
A number of UK firms have opened offices in Atlanta, such as Sage which has a major base in the city, and Bond Dickinson – which is due to merge with Atlanta’s Womble Carlyle in October.
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 £2bn 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 added: “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.
“Programmes 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.”