Accelerator programme Ignite is returning to Newcastle after three years away and is on the hunt for tech firms.

The scheme, which originally launched in the North East city in 2011, returns in October and will offer three months’ support and office space to up to 20 entrepreneurs as well as £15,000 investment to allow them to develop their business.

“We are really excited to be returning home to Newcastle where we launched in 2011,” said Ignite founder Tristan Watson.

“Since then we’ve delivered 16 programmes all around the UK, we’ve supported hundreds of companies and invested in over 140 of them.

“It’s three years since we last ran a programme in Newcastle, we know there are so many great entrepreneurs and innovators in the region and we can’t wait to meet them.”

Organisers said they are especially keen to work with founders on combating ageing-related issues.

Start-ups on the pre-accelerator will have the opportunity of interviewing for Ignite’s six-month programme and further investment.

The investment is being delivered by Northstar Ventures and the North East Innovation Fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Ignite supported successful North East tech firms Leaf Music, eCommerce platform Moltin and dementia platform MindMate.

MindMate founder Gabriela Matic will lead the new programme alongside Wil Benton (both pictured below), founder of music streaming site Chew. Benton has since exited that business.

Ignite

“We have a unique perspective in both having been on the programme before and also having been in the position the entrepreneurs we will work with are, as founders of our own start-ups,” said Matic.

“So along with the investment and network of experts, we will be able to offer the right kind of support to those on the programme as we know exactly what they are going through.

“The pre-accelerator is about developing and testing out your business idea, and getting your first customers – so whatever stage you’re at, even if you’ve just got a great idea and you’re not sure what to do next, get in touch and see if we can help.”

Alasdair Greig, director at Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Ignite’s return to Newcastle.

“We want to find the North East’s best innovators and start-ups and we know the Ignite team are experts in doing this and running programmes that support developing, testing out and growing innovative businesses.

“We’re very pleased to be working with them and I am sure the new Ignite pre-accelerator will be widely welcomed and attract the best, most exciting ideas and entrepreneurs in the region.”