Ignite Accelerator has appointed Jo York as its new CEO to oversee the delivery of its startup programmes and alumni engagement.

York will replace Tristan Watson, who is transitioning into the role of chairman to support Ignite’s strategic direction.

York has been involved with Ignite since 2013, first taking part in its autumn accelerator programme as co-founder of social video startup ‘Reframed’.

Since then she has been brought in to mentor various cohorts.

After her latest startup, Ricochet, was acquired by Cognism in 2020, York joined the Ignite Northern Ireland programme as Entrepreneur in Residence. Later that year, she joined Ignite full-time to oversee the delivery of its North of Tyne programmes.

In her role as CEO, York will continue to lead the delivery of the North of Tyne Ignite programmes, which are funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority to drive digital business growth in the North East of England.

“It’s such an honour to be appointed as CEO of Ignite. I’m all too aware of the number of other alumni whose lives have been changed for the better by Ignite programmes and I feel the weight of responsibility to continue that momentum very keenly,” said York.

“We are currently in full swing with our 2022 accelerator programme and will be opening applications for our pre-accelerator programme next week. My initial focus will be to continue to support founders and, with that, the impact we make in the North East of England.”

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Watson first joined Ignite in 2013 as managing director and is also a co-founder of former tech co-working space Campus North, which was home to the very first Ignite programme. 

He said: “I remember the first Ignite programme launching at our Campus North hub like it was yesterday. Back then, it was called ‘Ignite 100’ because start-ups would benefit from £100k in investment.

“Since then, Ignite has changed a lot. We’ve delivered programmes across the UK and consulted other accelerators across the globe. In 2021, we received the news that we were able to bring Ignite back to the North East, the place where it all began, through a brand-new partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

“I’m humbled to have been able to work with so many founders over the years, and I’m really proud to hand over the reins to Jo and to see her continue the Ignite legacy.”

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