Plan Digital’s five-day Newcastle Startup Week festival has announced Edinburgh-based FreeAgent as its headline sponsor for 2019.

The cloud-based accounting software will also sponsor the monthly Founders’ Friday events from May onwards.

The third annual Newcastle Startup Week festival will take place across Newcastle and Gateshead between 13th-17th May. In previous years 600+ entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors attended from across the UK, Europe, US and Asia.

Lancaster, who has worked in the start-up world for more than 15 years, told BusinessCloud at the 2018 event that more belief is needed in the North East as a ‘testbed city’ for start-ups.

The sponsor is an online accounting system designed to meet the needs of sole traders, freelancers, small businesses, bookkeepers and accountants.

Their software helps customers take care of their business admin, including managing expenses, running a Real Time Information (RTI) compliant payroll and tracking time worked, through to creating and sending estimates and invoices to clients.

Newcastle Startup Week

“FreeAgent is one of the UK’s biggest business success stories of the past 10 years and a fantastic example of a company that truly understands its customers,” said founder and event producer Paul Lancaster.

“FreeAgent’s sponsorship of Newcastle Startup Week also supports our aim of bringing the business start-up, scale-up and investor communities in the North East of England and Scotland much closer together, with particular focus on Newcastle and Edinburgh.

“I’m personally delighted to have them on board and excited to be working with them over the year ahead.”

Matt Perkins, senior partnerships manager of FreeAgent, said: “FreeAgent are proud and excited to be sponsoring this year’s Newcastle Startup Week festival. We’ve always been passionate about supporting the UK’s sole traders and micro-businesses – the lifeblood of our economy.

“There has never been a better time to start a new business in the North East of England with some of the UK’s top accelerator programmes, co-working spaces and business communities available for aspiring start-ups to tap into from day one.

“It’s not so long ago that FreeAgent was a three person start-up in Edinburgh and now our online accounting software is used and loved by tens of thousands of businesses across the UK, so we know how crucial it is to get inspired, get going and be supported right from the start.”

More than 70,000 businesses currently use FreeAgent to manage their business accounts.