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Applications Open for Businesses to apply as Sage Launches an International Start-Up Exchange Programme

Some of the region’s most promising start-ups will have access to a new international business exchange programme, launched by tech trailblazer Sage.

The market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, has introduced the inaugural Start-Up Exchange programme in conjunction with the city of Atlanta –  a sister city of Newcastle – where Sage’s headquarters have been based since its launch in 1981.

In partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, Newcastle City Council, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Sage is on the hunt for two North East-based start-up or scale-up businesses to take part in a residential visit to Atlanta – which is home to Sage’s North American head office.

The businesses should want to expand into new markets and must operate in the smart cities, cybersecurity or aerospace sectors.

The residency will take place during Atlanta Cyber Week (1-7th October 2017) or Venture Atlanta Week (8-14th October 2017) so applicants must be available to travel to Atlanta around these dates.

The programme aims to showcase the talent that the North East has as a tech and exporting hub, while providing the successful applicants with a foundation to build new international business opportunities and expand into different markets.

Alan Laing, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Sage, said: “Innovative, imaginative and successful small businesses are essential for our economy and are a key driver of growth.

“The North East is a powerhouse for creativity and our business exchange programme is focused on helping companies on a growth path to seize the opportunity and break into new markets. We’re proud of our roots in the region and are committed to supporting other North East businesses to grow and expand – we’re delighted to be able to provide a helping hand for those who want to take the next step on an exciting transformation journey with overseas expansion and play a role in creating a region of successful entrepreneurs.”

To help winning companies make the most of the exchange programme while in Atlanta, Sage will develop a programme of activities to take part in, including business meetings and conference attendance.

The judging panel will include some of the region’s top business leaders. To enter, applicants need to visit Sage’s Forum for Business Builders webpage: A video entry needs to accompany the application that introduces the business, employee-base and importantly tell the judging panel why they want to be part of the exchange programme. The application deadline is 11th August – the first 50 entrants will receive a complimentary 12-month subscription to Sage One online accounting and payroll software.

Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The digital sector in the region has seen significant growth over the past five of years, and is the fastest growing outside of London, now accounting for over 44,000 employees and nearly £2 billion to the regional economy.

“We have a long established relationship with Atlanta spanning some 40 years, which started back in 1977 when President Carter visited Newcastle. This business exchange programme with our sister city provides an ideal opportunity for innovative businesses to extend into growing overseas markets and explore new opportunities.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed commented: “I am pleased to support the Startup Exchange between Atlanta and Newcastle. Atlanta is the economic and cultural capital of the Southeast United States, and a thriving technology and innovation hub. Programs like the Startup Exchange offer valuable experience to entrepreneurs to learn and expand their reach. We are proud that Sage chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters, and look forward to continuing to strengthen ties between Atlanta and Newcastle.”

The two North East companies will also be invited as guests of honour at an event held at Sage’s headquarters in North Park on 12th October to welcome Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed to the city. 


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