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North East-based competition, the If We Can You Can (IWCYC) Challenge, has unveiled its regional business partnerships for 2019 as it launches the 11th year of its annual startup challenge.

Amongst the partners is Mincoffs Solicitors, who joins the competition for the second year running as legal partner, Inspirational Bus Tour partner Go North East and accelerator partner NEL Fund Managers.

Organised by FIRST, a network of services committed to connecting startups, professionals and young people to the wider business community, the competition aims to shine a spotlight on the region’s upcoming talent.

Anthony Hall, Partner at Mincoffs, said: “At Mincoffs, we work with ideas. One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is helping entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and innovate to make a real difference.

“We believe that supporting the If We Can You Can Challenge is an excellent way of celebrating the achievements of young founders and inspiring innovation.”

By offering advice, mentoring and sharing contacts within the business community, the IWCYC Challenge aims to inspire entrepreneurs in the region to start their own business.

Originally founded by the Entrepreneurs Forum, the competition has continued to grow and has been supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, all five of the region’s universities and enterprises throughout the North East.

Launching the event on 24 April 2019 with a bus tour visiting inspirational business places across the region including TusPark and PROTO, the competition is now open to aspiring entrepreneurs and startups in the North East.

Charlotte Windebank, managing director of FIRST, said: “To be able to launch the If We Can You Can competition amongst supportive members of the North East business community was a real pleasure.

“This is the 11th year for the challenge and we have exciting things planned to celebrate entrepreneurship in the North East. We can’t thank our partners enough for their support and commitment to startups in the region.”

Amongst the confirmed partners line up is PR partner O Communications, media partner North East Times, film partner GetFilm, Social Impact Award partner PNE Enterprise, Highest Growth Award partner Entrepreneurs Forum, Sunderland University as Education venue partner The Biscuit Factory, Northumbria University & Teesside University, with more to be announced soon.

Entries are now open for this year’s IWCYC Challenge. To enter or nominate a North East startup, visit

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