Difference Engine Boosts North East With £20,000 For Ten Start-ups

Angel of the North Flickr PhotoThe Difference Engine, a program to increase the growth of start-ups in Europe has been launched in the North East this week and will provide start-up capital of around £20,000, mentor support and a working environment that will allow ten teams of digital entrepeneurs to get their business up and running. 

We got in touch with The Difference Engine's Managing Director, Jon Bradford for the deets.

CHINWAG:  Can entrepreneurs can apply from anywhere in the UK?

Teams can come from elsewhere in the UK and beyond (subject to working visas). They will be required to relocate to the region for the duration of the programme.

CHINWAG: What sort of companies are you targeting? 

We have taken a very broad view about this - but typically web-based or software orientated businesses which version 1.0 or for more ambitious projects a prototype can be developed within the 16 week programme.  In general, we’re interested in disruptive technology solutions that are not capital intensive.

CHINWAG: The initial grant is quite small, will there be further grants in future?

The initial £20k is an investment (rather than a grant) for which we take an 8% stake in the business.  As an investment there is the opportunity for the programme to become sustainable within a few years.  Initiatives such as the JEREMIE programme in the North East will bring £125m to the region in early 2010 - providing potential investment funds in the longer term.

It's clear the scheme is aiming for longevity with this one and trying to make a real difference in the North East, which with events like North East Digital Awards and the region's answer to the legendary (and expensive) TED conference, Thinking Digital (25% discount for Chinwag readers) is proving that it's a thriving part of the UK's digital economy.


The program is due to start on the 15 February 2010 and will run until 4 June. It will have two 16 week cycles, both of which will be based in the North East. The first in February, 2010 at Boho One DigitalCity, Middlesbrough and the second will be in July at Sunderland Software City.

Ten lucky teams will be choosen from a 20-strong short list. So, if you're an entrepreneur or if you know someone who would benefit from The Difference Engine, apply online at  before 4 January, 2010.

Picture courtesy of Andy FCUM. Some rights reserved.


Would love your readers' feedback

Suzanne - great stuff, thanks for publishing this. :-)

Quick note to anyone else reading this - happy to field your questions & suggestions via @differenceengin

Many thanks again