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Startup Weekly: Northern Tech Awards, a new e-commerce accelerator & more


Here’s your weekly round up of news about startup competitions, awards, co-working spaces, accelerators and any other exciting things happening in the UK tech sector.

Startup accelerator has announced the launch of a new startup accelerator programme in France. Open to entrepreneurs across the UK and Europe, the accelerator will host 20 startups that are working in the areas of fashion, e-commerce and technology.

Run in partnership with Station F, a startup campus based in Paris, the accelerator aims to support startups which are working towards the transformation of online experience in the online fashion retail sector. The firm has also announced that it will be investing €80m in its innovation, research and development teams.

Sally Scott UK managing director at, commented: “This investment presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs in the UK, to not only access our support and mentorship, but to be part of a growing and exciting community at the world’s biggest startup campus in Paris.

“We see great potential for growth in the UK on the back of this investment in innovation, and by continuing to support and champion the developments in our sector,” she added.

Northern tech awards

In partnership with Tech North, GP Bullhound is encouraging tech companies to apply for the Northern Tech Awards 2017.

The awards, which will take place 30th March 2017 in Newcastle, will celebrate the region’s top 100 fastest growing tech startups and the innovative technologies they have created. A league table ranking the companies will also be published on the day.

Hugh Campbell, managing partner of GP Bullhound, commented: “The growth of the northern digital economy continues to accelerate, contributing over £18bn to the region’s productivity. Digital businesses across the north are having a sizeable impact on the immediate growth and future prosperity of the national economy.

“This year’s awards will champion the businesses and entrepreneurs driving growth, fueling innovation, and shaping the future of the Northern economy. Newcastle, home to Sage, the only software business in the FTSE 100 and a thriving hub for startups and scaleups, provides the ideal platform to showcase this excellence.”

Richard Gregory, director of Tech North, added: “Recognising the impressive breadth and depth of successful digital businesses in the North of England is at the heart of our mission, and we look forward to showcasing the 100 fastest growing firms.”

Women in IT

The Women in IT Awards, in partnership with Amazon Web Services, has revealed its 2017 finalists from over 350 nominations.

With awards from categories such as Advocate of the Year, CIO of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovator of the Year, the ceremony will take place on 25th January in London.

Finalists include Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First, Jyoti Sharma, digital transformation leader at EY, and Estelle Lloyd, co-founder of EdTech startup Azoomee.

Gavin Jackson, managing director for UK and Ireland at Amazon Web Services, commented: “Gender diversity in business helps drive innovation, gives business a better understanding of customers, and means you can always hire and develop the best talent.

“We all have a real responsibility to ensure that the next generation of women are able to do so on ability and merit, and we’re delighted to support the Women in IT Awards’ efforts to shine a spotlight on some of the country’s most inspirational technology leaders.”

See the full list of finalists here.

Collaborating with AI

Digital Catapult has announced a partnership with IBM Watson to support the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, a competition designed to discover how humans and AI can collaborate to change the world for the better.

The $5m competition enables teams to work on applications using AI, machine learning, predictive technologies and robotics to develop technologies to tackle worldwide challenges such as health, poverty and sustainable energy.

Digital Catapult will support the competition by providing events, meetings and technical experts to guide and mentor the participating teams.

Dr. Jeremy Silver, CEO at Digital Catapult, commented: “AI is already beginning to play a fascinating role in our lives and its potential to transform the lives of consumers, businesses and governments is on a grand scale.

“If we get it right, the benefits of AI may be deployed to help solve some of society’s grandest challenges. We look forward to sharing all kinds of new learnings from the entries to this exciting competition.”

Platform for entrepreneurs

Welsh ICE, an innovation and co-working space in Wales, is inviting its users to trial a new online learning platform.

The platform, called Boma Camp, provides workshops, community forums and articles to bring together aspiring entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and expertise.

Gareth Jones, Welsh ICE and Boma Camp CEO, said: “Our members are constantly collaborating and helping each other to grow their businesses, but we can only fit so many people into our buildings – we wanted to take that ethos and share it with all potential entrepreneurs.

“We hope that launching Boma Camp will allow us to connect more and more people in a way that helps them learn from a diverse and knowledgeable audience,” he concluded.

CRL expansion

The Central Research Laboratory (CRL) has announced it is expanding its accelerator and co-working space to welcome more hardware entrepreneurs in early 2017.

Occupying over 10,000 sq ft, the CRL is based in Hayes, West London and will offer a range of packages from hot desking to studio space. All package options include access to meeting rooms, workshops, WiFi and CRL events.

That’s all for this week! Check out upcoming startup events on our events page.