The founder of Newcastle Startup Week is launching a ‘lifetime membership’ offer.

After running three five-day physical Newcastle Startup Week events in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – with more than 600 delegates at each – COVID-19 lockdown forced Paul Lancaster to move everything online.

He ran two Startup Week ONLINE events in May and September 2020, for 300 and 200 delegates respectively.

These were delivered through a new, private Facebook Group which he has kept running ever since and currently contains 182 members. These are mostly small business owners from across the North East but also includes local business advisors, experts from large multinational companies, lawyers, accountants and investors.

He also re-positioned the website to be an all-year-round resource for anyone wanting to start or grow a business in Newcastle upon Tyne and the wider North East with weekly blogs, videos, business guides, newsletters and social media support.

Startup Week Community

Lancaster has now announced that anyone joining his online ‘Startup Week Community’ will be given ‘lifetime membership’ of his private Facebook Group, free access to any of his future events – both online and offline – speaking, networking & marketing opportunities, 1-2-1 business coaching, exclusive content, special offers and discounts to help them start or grow their business.

“Pre-COVID, one of the major strengths of the North East of England was the close-knit and collaborative business community which enabled people to learn, innovate and launch things quickly,” said Lancaster.

“Unfortunately, although many of us are more digitally connected, the pandemic has made it much harder for new & established business owners alike to know what is happening and where to go for the best help, advice & funding.

“We’re missing the human connection and serendipitous conversations that used to happen when meeting in person.

“The original aim of my annual Newcastle Startup Week festival was to make it easier for people to find everything they needed to start or grow a business in one place & provide a platform from which everyone in the startup ecosystem could benefit.

“By moving everything online, although we now have the potential to reach even more people all-year-round, the importance of a friendly, supportive and knowledgeable community of real-life small business owners should not be underestimated.

“The current Startup Week Community Members and I have done some amazing things together over the past 12 months but I’m even more excited about what we can do in the months and years ahead, especially when COVID-19 finally goes away & we can start having live events again.”

Businesses and organisations can also get a ‘group membership’ for a reduced price if they buy a bulk order of five or more by emailing [email protected].