PNE Enterprise Proudly Support the If We Can You Can Awards

If We Can You Can

15 startup businesses from across the North East, including PNE Enterprise supported Anneisha Merryweather, battled it out at the 2017 If We Can You Can Challenge Live Final.

The atmosphere was electric, with all 15 startups pitching to each table in the room. Over dinner the guests debated who they thought deserved to go through to the final round of the ‘Biggest Social Impact’ and ‘Highest Growth Potential’ categories.

This year the winners were Jigsaw Recovery Project and Storage Shepherd. Jigsaw Recovery Project aim to support young people to live independently after leaving local authority care, and Storage Shepherd provide the opportunity to rent your spare space as storage for other people.

In support of the exciting businesses, PNE Enterprise has offered places to all six finalist businesses on their prestigious Get Growing programme, with benefits worth £2,000 per business.

Melissa Middleton, Programme Manager at PNE Enterprise, said, “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!”

Delivered by FIRST Face to Face alongside partners Growth Hub North East and all 5 regional Universities, a selection of guests in the room included representatives from the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Brewin Dolphin, Mincoffs Solicitors, and Entrepreneurial Spark.

Charlotte Windebank, MD of FIRST Face to Face and organiser of the If We Can You Can Challenge, said, “The challenge gives startups the necessary confidence, contacts and publicity to take them to the next stage of growing their fantastic businesses. The quality of the shortlisted 15 truly represents the talent and innovation that is coming out of the North East. Thanks to all our partners and we can’t wait for the 10th anniversary next year.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at Growth Hub North East emphasises the impact of the If We Can You Can Challenge, commenting, “The North East Growth Hub is right behind the If We Can You Can Challenge! In the North East we have around 600 High Growth Small Businesses, employing some 21,000 people, with a combined turnover of £2.4 billion. We want to double this by 2024 and it is initiatives like the IWCYC Challenge that will help us to do that.”

With 2018 being the 10th anniversary year for the If We Can You Can Challenge, there are sure to be numerous more success stories. For any startups or businesses who wish to get involved and support this initiative, please visit or contact Owen at or 07715547148

Learn more about the Get Growing programme here.


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