Startup thinking from our friends in the North

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MountainDew Will Save The World

Planning to launch a tech startup? Then you could do worse than locate your project in the North and Midlands of the UK. Now, before you tell me I’m mad, and shouldn’t we all be rushing to OpenCoffee in London to guffaw loudly with trustafarians about startups, consider this: theNetStart is a new project being put in place to establish an ecosystem for startups, working with public sector bodies Yorkshire Forward, Creative Sheffield, Leeds Met University and Sheffield Hallam University. The project is being lead by no less than Lee Strafford, the former founder of ISP PlusNet who made a very good exit to BT in January 2007. He is joined by Marco Potesta, also formerly of PlusNet, and noted tech analyst Ian Spence. The project also has a Facebook Group called Project Sahara. Refreshingly, theNetStart will employ the distinctly industrial revolution era concept of The Cooperative. Let’s see Silicon Valley work that one out. Perhaps one of the biggest innovations will be an improved interface to the regional VCs and Angel networks for startups – badly needed in my view across the whole of the UK. I hope to learn more about it all when I meet up with the people involved soon.

  • JohnofScribbleSheet

    Good news for Northern startups then. The fact that most “have” to move to London must put off many. Good luck to Project Sahara.

  • Manoj Ranaweera

    All related documents can be accessed through here

    Please leave your comments against each document. You are welcome to embed, link or add thumbnails to your blogs and sites.

    If you would like to meet the team, why not come to NW Startup 2.0 DEMO + Mashup* Manchester on 6th Dec 07 to see other Northern Stars and join a debate on Content 2.0. Southerners attending the event include Simon Grice (etribes,, Paul Fisher (Advent Ventures), Sam Sethi (Blognation), Nic Brisbourne (Esprit Ventures), Vincent Camara ( to film the whole event). We already have about 13 companies confirmed for DEMOs

  • Martin Owen

    The financial incentives and infrastructure support in less economically favoured regions (eg Wales, Highiands and Islands) means that there are good reasons for being out of London if you can. It makes bootstrapping your start-up a bit easier.

    A llok at what is offered by the Welsh Technium network is not limited to university spin outs

  • Glen Hopkinson

    Nice to see the Connect Yorkshire ( on Lee’s list of potential collaborators. Our remit is to link entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed: money, mentoring and high-quality advice from people who have done it themselves. Our lastest initiative to help make deals happen and facilitate investment is called This is an online portal where entrepreneurs – primarily those ‘up North’ – can advertise their funding needs and pitch their ideas to investors whenerever they are 24/7. The site is currently in beta and I think dovetails well with what theNetStart is trying to do. We hope that we can participate in building an online community and marketplace that promotes enterprise and facilitates additive interactions across the North. Go Lee go!

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