Testimonials 2017-08-31T17:03:37+00:00


We are recommended by the North East business community

Read below for testimonials from competition entrants and partners. This year we’re looking for the North East’s most innovative startup and established entrepreneurs to get involved!




The #IWCYC competition has been a great stepping stone into the business world for us. We didn’t win the final but we’ve gained so much just from the experience. We have never done anything in the business world before so it was a great experience to be surrounded by so many likeminded people, the room was packed of a wealth of knowledge and experience which we learnt a lot from.

Dave Hall

Co-founder and MD – Manhua Cha Ltd

IWCYC allowed me to get in touch with some real influencers in the digital and tech industry in the North East. These contacts provided me with invaluable feedback on both the concept itself and my strategy going forward. In addition to this, it was a chance to pitch to many people that I have subsequently met, and therefore a great chance to get the word out about what you do in a fast paced but fun setting before having any official ‘sit down’ meetings.

Louisa Rogers

Managing Director – TrendListr Ltd

DroneOps is a micro business based in rural Northumberland. Operating since for less than two years we have secured R&D work with SHELL, BAE Systems and Ackzo Noble. So, we are “boxing well above our weight” and we really need to shout about it. The IWCYC event was entered to allow us to showcase our entrepreneurial spirit to the masses. The evening event was great and we have gained some valuable business relationships from both the sponsor and the other entrants. DroneOps is proud to be associated with the event and it represents the North East perfectly well as a potential springboard of enterprising that the region needs as a bed rock to move forward.

Justin Pringle

CTO – Drone Ops Ltd

The If We Can You Can Challenge helped me with new contacts and building on the investment and raising the profile. When you’re working so hard you can be caught out by something; this award has been such a positive influence in my life and has made me realise how much I’ve achieved so far.

Ami Davies

2015 People’s prize winner

The experience and exposure just from being selected was great, but to win the whole event is something that even today still hasn’t fully hit home.

Sarah Ashurst

2015 Overall winner

It has boosted my confidence as I know other people believe in my idea. I’ve met a fantastic mentor that I can pick up the phone to and ask questions and who is helping me expand my network.

Katie Olvanhill

2015 Ideas prize winner



Gillian Marshall Entrepreneurs Forum

The people who enter If We Can, You Can are the job and wealth creators of the future, making it the perfect platform for spotting new talent, supporting emerging entrepreneurs and setting them on the road to build a vibrant North East buzzing with exciting new enterprises and fresh thinking entrepreneurs who believe: If They Can, I Can.

Gillian Marshall

Chief Executive – Entrepreneurs’ Forum

Colin Bell North East LEP

Increasing the density of High Growth Start Up Businesses in North East would have the biggest impact on our economy. That’s why the North East Growth Hub is keen to ensure that we equip leaders with the skills required to survive, thrive and grow their businesses. Initiatives like the If We Can You Can Challenge are great ways to help shine a spotlight on the importance of supporting start-ups through the next phase and to give them the right tools to grow.

Colin Bell

Business Growth Director – North East LEP

Jacqui Miller MBE

As a North East business woman who blazed a trail in the construction machinery sector globally I’ve often been asked what I care about. My answer has always been the same…

Family aside, I am exceptionally passionate about my business, my region and my country in that order. After stepping down from my operational role that I held within Miller International for over 3 decades I’ve since added a further passion to my list and that is help to raise aspiration in our future generations or to assist disillusioned business people who think they either don’t know how to overcome the challenges they face or have lost their appetite to do so. The gift that is ‘giving back’ is exceptionally important for our region and the wider economy. Even the very experienced of business individuals suffer from moments of doubt and it’s important that those experiencing this know that it’s part of the process of achieving and that many successful people have experienced those very doubts that they find themselves confronting. By listening to those that have ‘walked that path before’ we can very often learn to avoid very basic but sometimes very costly business errors, after all we can none of us know what we don’t know but what I can confirm is that negative ‘know how’ is extremely expensive to learn. If all of us work to achieve a UNITED business eco system it will not only add up to more business being generated but it will be all of us within that eco system including increased job opportunities for our people who will reap the rich rewards.

Jacqui Miller MBE

Shareholder and Main Board Member – Miller International Ltd

Get your tickets for the grand final!

An awards ceremony like no other! We promise that you will leave the night feeling inspired and proud of the startup talent the North East has to offer. This fully immersive enterprise experience will sell out so we’d advise booking early to avoid disappointment!

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