If We Can You Can Challenge – Connecting North East startup entrepreneurs to growth opportunities

The If We Can You Can Challenge is the North East's startup business competition

The If We Can You Can Challenge is a startup business competition open to any North East startup or business idea less than 3 years old. Now in its 11th year, the competition has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs reach the next level. Whether you’re looking for confidence, contacts or customers, enter your startup now and make it happen!


Showcase your startup and build new contacts

Receive signposting to opportunities and advice that suit your business needs

Connect with mentors that can provide advice and help your business

Access exclusive events and opportunities

Pitch to win exclusive money-can’t-buy prizes for your startup

Quotation mark

The If We Can You Can Challenge was a brilliant experience for Nebula Labs. It was a fantastic opportunity to pitch to an audience of industry leaders. Just taking part had really positive outcomes. We were able to network with a variety of different individuals and companies, from this we forged new business connections and a number of significant leads were generated.

Dylan McKee
Co-founder & CEO
Nebula Labs

Dylan McKee Nebula Labs
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The North East economy is based on lots of businesses that are growing and startups are fundamentally important to that. It has been really encouraging to hear some truly fantastic pitches with so many people wanting them to do well.

Jo Robertson Deloitte

Jo Robertson
Associate Director


The campaign is inclusive and open to everyone. Every applicant receives access to the If We Can You Can Challenge community, which provides support and signposting to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.


The Highest Growth Potential Award is given to the startup with the most scalable future; a strong revenue model based on clear and reasonable assumptions.

The Biggest Social Impact Award is given to the startup with a clearly defined social need along with a clear and feasible plan for measuring and evaluating social impact.

The Ideas Prize is awarded to the entrepreneur with the best business idea that is not yet registered with Companies House.

The Ones to Watch Award is given to the startup that will achieve great things in the coming year and will potentially be a winner of the Grand Final categories next year.


Do you have a question about the If We Can You Can Challenge?

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