FIRST is a network of services committed to connecting young people and startups to their local business community.
Established in 2014, the business has 3 core services:
FIRST Startup – enterprise skill development through workshops, networking events, competitions and business accelerator programmes
FIRST Breakthrough – a youth led matching service connecting 14 – 30 year olds to work placements, jobs, training and qualifications
FIRST Face to Face – an online events resource and networking event management consultancy
We are experts at engaging and communicating with audiences, supporting young people and startups and developing business relationships that are based on best practise, process and results.
Charlotte is a trustee of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and co-founder of FIRST (www.firstnetwork.co), a project based company that cocreates and delivers fun and innovative business activities for startups, young and youngish people. She is an expert in youth engagement and works with public bodies, business and education to equip people with the confidence they need to kick start their career or business.
Charlotte directs the If We Can You Can Challenge: a startup business competition that works in partnership with national, local, private and public sector organisations to engage and give much needed publicity to early stage businesses across the North East: www.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk. Charlotte also sits on the Gender and Entrepreneurship North East and the North East Women’s Leadership Advisory Board for Newcastle University Business School where she influences, shares best practise and disrupts the status quo for women to advance as leaders.
Zoe is an innovating, intrapreneur who inspires new founders to pitch, network and explore their wider business communities through her project The If We Can You Can Challenge. Her skills are focused on audience engagement, project management, client relations and networking. She works with established businesses and enterprise support agencies to manage, connect and showcase high profile business events and entrepreneurs.
Simon joins us as a recent graduate of Northumbria University where he also spent two years as the President of the Students’ Union. Key areas of focus for him will be helping young people from across the North East in finding employment or learning how to become self employed and starting their own business.
Simon has worked directly with young people from all walks of life helping to develop their skills and reach their full potential and is transferring this experience to projects at FIRST.
Caroline Theobald CBE
Caroline accepted a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2007 and was awarded the CBE for services to business and entrepreneurship in 2016. She is the chair of FIRST, the co-founder of Gabriel Investors and the independent chair of BQ Live debates on enterprise and entrepreneurship throughout the UK. Caroline has been the honorary consul for Sweden since 2007 and is also the honorary chair of the North East chapter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce.
Jackson works on various projects to engage and encourage young people to take steps into starting up their own business or taking on their first job. He is a creative thinker and a fun workshop facilitator who has engaged 1000s of young people as a positive role model and motivating coach. He has more memorised ice breakers and team building games then most and has excellent skills in problem solving and project admin.
Alice is an expert in the delivery of young person development projects with a focus on confidence building and empowerment. Key areas of knowledge and training are youth engagement, youth retention, safeguarding and behaviour management with a focus on NEETs, hard-to-reach young people and those with low confidence and anxiety issues. Alice specialises in creating and delivering bespoke enterprise workshops and employability resources for young people aged 11-25. Alice is also responsible for volunteer recruitment and mentoring to support young people to coordinate and deliver projects.