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Sync the City event to create new tech start-ups in three days

To register

Thu, 16 Oct 2014

Start-ups and entrepreneurs across one of the country's fastest-growing technology communities are being challenged to build and launch a start-up in 54 hours at an ambitious event.

Sync the City, a collaboration between SyncNorwich, HP, The University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council, aims to help place Norwich firmly on the tech community map over three days in November, giving entrants chance to pitch their business concepts to leading industry figures and win £3000.

Bringing together Norfolk's entrepreneurs, product developers, software developers, designers and digital creatives, with students from the University of East Anglia, teams will aim to develop innovative start-ups.

The mixed business and student teams will then pitch their ideas to a panel of high-profile judges at the end of the event including Anastasia Emmanuel from crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo and Jon Bradford from TechStars.

Emma Swift from Tech City UK - which champions the digital and technology industry in the UK and internationally - has been announced as the keynote speaker at the event and will discuss what makes a successful tech cluster and how different clusters can work together to make the whole UK a digital hub for innovation. Chloe Smith MP will also attend the event.

Fiona Lettice, Professor in Innovation Management at UEA's Norwich Business School, said: "Norfolk is already home to a rapidly growing number of technology innovators turning their creative ideas into real business, and Sync the City will bring together the strength of Norwich's tech community in one place. The judges and mentors can offer real-life advice whilst we hope the competition will kick start the developments of the next generation of Norfolk tech companies."

Patrick Stephenson, HP General Manager Digital Norfolk Ambition Partnership, said: "HP is delighted to be a sponsor and active participant of Sync the City. I am excited about the disruptive innovation this event will drive and collaboration amongst local entrepreneurs, SME's, public sector and private sector organisations such as HP."

After initial pitches on day one, teams will build their businesses over days two and three, before presenting to the judging panel, other entrants and members of the public in the evening, with an award presentation concluding the event.

Mentors on hand to help in the development over the three days include Ha Cole, Enterprise Architect at Microsoft; Ben Riches, Digital Integration Director at Aviva; Ali Clabburn, Managing Director & Founder of liftshare.com and Ben Taylor, CEO & Co-founder of Rainbird.

John Fagan from SyncNorwich said: "Start-up weekends are a global movement in the tech community. They prove it really is possible to create a tech business from scratch in 54 hours. Sync the City is a platform to bring people together from public, private and education sectors to collaborate in small teams and have fun. If the teams come up with an amazing product concept and prototype, then that would be the cherry on the cake."

Cllr Bev Spratt, Chairman of Norfolk County Council's Economic Development Sub Committee, said: "Norfolk, and Norwich in particular, has a thriving community of excellent ICT and digital creative businesses. The sector is strongly supported by our two Universities which produce dozens of high quality graduates every year. I hope, by supporting this event, we can help some of those graduates to become entrepreneurs of the future."

SyncNorwich was founded in 2012 as a virtual community to support the growing digital economy in and around Norwich and is now one of the biggest and most active tech meet-up groups outside of London. SyncNorwich has over 900 members, of which approximately 50% are software developers and architects, 20% are founders, entrepreneurs, directors or investors and 20% are project managers or others.

Sync the City will be held at the King's Centre, King Street in Norwich from 20-22 November. Participants will pay £25 to enter which will include food and refreshments throughout.

The event has been funded by HP, Norfolk County Council, NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy), Rainbird and the University of East Anglia.

To register

Anyone wishing to be part of a start-up team for the whole event, or interested in being an audience member on Saturday night only, can register and get tickets at www.syncthecity.com. The website includes information about the agenda, judges and mentors, or contact the UEA Events team with any queries by emailing careers.events@uea.ac.uk.