Karen James Founder of Harbour Business Solutions
"I was amazed at support from Zoe and her team at FIRST and the number of students that were able to help me. All of these young people have been of the highest quality and were able to understand and complete the tasks required clearly and with professionalism. I would highly recommend FIRST as being a valuable resource to any business and would have no hesitation in recommending the students."
"We're a very small business with aspirations to grow and had mapped out a plan, but simply couldn't find the time alongside existing commitments. The student placement scheme has solved the issue for us - We now have the services of an intelligent, enthusiastic individual with skills that are well matched to our requirements, who is making things happen and at no cost to ourselves."
Melissa Middleton Programme Manager - PNE Enterprise
“The If We Can You Can Grand Finale is one of the most important events in the region’s enterprise calendar. A celebration of entrepreneurship in the North East, it provides an important platform for the individuals and businesses taking part to strengthen their skills, build their networks and demonstrate their value to future stakeholders. We’ve seen first-hand through our own businesses the impact it can make for a fledgling start-ups. Here’s to another ten years!”
Colin Bell Business Growth Director - North East Growth Hub
“The North East Growth Hub is right behind the If You Can We Can Challenge! Our goal is to create a world-class business support and finance ecosystem that makes a real and measurable difference to business growth, productivity and trade. In the North East we have around 600 High Growth Small Businesses (HGSBs), employing some 21,000 people, with a combined turnover of £2.4 billion, they were responsible for generating 33% of GVA growth during 2014. We want to double this by 2024 and its initiatives like the IWCYC Challenge that will help us to do that. The IWCYC Challenge is a great way to help shine a spotlight on the importance of supporting start- ups through the next phase and to give them the right tools to grow. Growth Hub Online is there to help too with a comprehensive directory of funding programmes, business support and advice available to businesses in the North East and insights into a whole range of topics including business planning, business start-up and leadership development.”
"We loved the live final and being part of this wonderful project thank you. This is how education should be. Learning with and alongside businesses, solving problems, finding your strengths and what you love to do. Working as a team to provide the best solutions for the customers and work force alike. All very valuable lessons and incredibly well executed. I was so impressed with the standard of the work presented by and the confidence in which the children handled their presentations. Absolutely MARVELLOUS well done!"
Bethany Ainsley Nouveau Group, Founder
“I was once a startup business within the North East, so I know how challenging it can be. I’m also very passionate about helping entrepreneurs and startup entrepreneurs manage their wellbeing, and that is why I’m delighted to work with FIRST and the If We Can You Can Challenge.”
SOUP Business Idea Pitching Event Attendee
"How important the enterprise pitches that you’re doing tonight are... in the North East of England there are fewer and fewer businesses, and quite simply you just don’t have the prosperity that you have elsewhere, that’s why you are all so important because. I just simply want to encourage you that being enterprising is the future of the for the North East"
Lucy Batley Co-Founder and Creative Director - JUMP
“A brilliant project from start to finish that showcased the entrepreneurial talents within the region and gave deserving startups a much-needed platform to be heard by the right people at the right time.”
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