I don’t know how many more years it will last.
And Paul probably doesn’t know either.
But what I do know is that Newcastle Startup Week is very, very special.
Newcastle Startup Week.
Over a 5 day period from the 13th to the 17th.
Over 700 people will gather in Newcastle and Gateshead to explore a huge range of subjects around starting and growing businesses.
It’ll be about 1,000 people once we add in students.
But it won’t be at all businesslike in the traditional sense.
Suits will be few and far between.
As will vol-eu-vents.
Instead, there will be the excited and the entrepreneurial, buzzing with optimism and positivity.
As well as amazing local food, coffee and beer served from mid morning to late into the night at amazing local venues like Tyne Bank Brewery, Back Yard Bikeshop (By The River Brew Co.) and Stack Creative Social Hub.
And because of all this.
What comes as absolutely no surprise to me at all.
Is that this event is more attractive, better attended and more loved than anything of its kind that I have ever seen by any university, college, enterprise agency, local authority, networking organisation in the North East of England over the last 20 years.
And I have worked for 4 universities and the North East’s 2 biggest enterprise agencies.
Nothing has ever come close.
Newcastle Startup Week is a festival.
The speakers (of which there are 60+ from around the world) are diverse and intense.
Each speaker gets an average of 20 minutes to do their thing.
So the content is sharply constructed and efficiently presented.
The whole event crackles and buzzes with seemingly endless layers of information, entertainment and inspiration.
And it is unencumbered by waffly sponsors.
They’re clever enough to know that just being involved, and a sprinkling of a few well-chosen words, is enough.
Newcastle Startup Week is innovative, layered, surprising, fast-moving and vibrant.
And as I say – very, very special.
Which, I guess, makes Paul Lancaster very, very special too.
And if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, asking for a discount code, I’ll send you one that’ll give you a 50% discount in these last few days.