Innovative tech start-up, Luna Code, wins £250 towards their enterprise idea (photo)

First Face to Face, VODA & Starter SOUP brought together the entrepreneurial talent of young people in the North East with the local business community at an event held at the Wallsend Memorial Hall at the end of March.

The event attracted attention from across the region with 10 young entrepreneurs pitching their business, social and community ideas. The room was bursting with creativity and it was a delight to witness young minds in action exploring ideas to make positive changes to businesses and communities.

Originally started in Detroit, the SOUP event concept brings communities together by giving audiences the vote to choose their favourite idea whilst enjoying a bowl of soup. With an accessible application process, the events are ideal for young people and start-ups in both the community and private sector. Supported by NatWest and RBS’s Skills & Opportunities fund, the event included a diverse range of pitchers. Pre-start-up entrepreneurs had a variety of creative ideas ranging from character & face painting, photography, graphic design, fashion, clothing and technology.

TyneMet College were impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit and the thinking behind the SOUP event.

Pam Robertson, Director of Learning Development, TyneMet College, said: “We were very happy to support the SOUP Fusion event – it’s events like this that make starting up a business a reality rather than a distant dream for many local people.

The College works hard to embed employability skills and commercial awareness into our curriculum across a broad range of subject areas, and the SOUP Fusion event was a great fit for us to ensure budding entrepreneurs could grasp the chance to access financial support for their business ideas.”

Voters awarded winners, Luna Code, with £250 funding towards their social enterprise, which helps to create inclusive, accessible games for people on the neurodiverse spectrum.

Luna Code said: “It’s been a brilliant experience and an opportunity to share what we are about. The funds will help us get the ball rolling and reach out to more people. We’re looking into creating a space and getting more assistive technologies! Big thanks to everyone who made this possible.”

Charlotte Windebank, MD of FIRST, said: “SOUP events enable people to share their ideas with confidence; they give the business community a unique format for networking and they inspire guests to think if they can stand up there and share their passion and vision, what’s stopping me? The North East has the lowest number of start-ups per square mile and the highest youth unemployment rates in the country. Events like this are critical in solving these problems and need to be supported by everyone in the community.”

If you would like to support future events or pitch your business idea, we want to hear from you! Get in touch with the team by calling 07922090726 or send us an email: getstarted@firstfacetoface.co.uk