First Friday branches out in Sunderland and Morpeth

Following a successful trial which saw its First Friday North East networking event held outside its home city for the first time, Newcastle Science City is to launch regular monthly sessions at locations elsewhere in the region, beginning with Morpeth and Sunderland.

Since it launched in 2009, First Friday North East has become a hugely popular forum for science and technology entrepreneurs in the region to meet up and discuss topics ranging from emerging technologies to the regional economy. Following a successful trial event in Morpeth back in February, when more than 30 people attended, Newcastle Science City will be launching the two new regular events under the ‘Informal Friday’ banner.

Usually held at the Central Bean Coffee Shop on Gallowgate, Newcastle, First Friday regularly attracts more than 100 people who come to meet in a relaxed, informal environment. The Sunderland and Morpeth satellite events, which kick off on June 10th and 17th respectively, will mirror the original format very closely. It is hoped that innovative businesses right across the region can use the expanded network to develop new partnerships, share expertise and do business together.

Newcastle Science City is working closely with partner organisations, including Sunderland University and the North East Chamber of Commerce, to offer the Informal Friday events, which reflect the importance of innovative science and technology businesses for the region’s future prosperity. 

Simon Green, programme manager at Newcastle Science City, said: “Our research had shown that there was demand for this type of forum beyond Newcastle city centre and this was clearly demonstrated by the strong attendance and great feedback from our trial in Morpeth. Informal Friday events will hopefully become as much of a hotbed for innovation and inspiration as our established First Friday forum.

“We are hopeful that entrepreneurs and senior professionals who discover their local events will also attend First Friday in Newcastle, thereby enhancing the links between different parts of the region and helping to ensure that business is kept within the North East wherever possible. The unique format of the event means that it attracts a very loyal band of regular attendees.”

As the chief executive of Astec Aquaculture, a unique laboratory facility near Ashington, Kevin Haddrick is well aware of the benefits that effective networking can offer. He said: “As a First Friday regular, I think it’s great news that the event is being expanded into Northumberland. This region has a thriving science and technology sector, but businesses need to work more closely together and there really is no other networking forum that can offer the same benefits to local entrepreneurs. 

“When I attended the trial event in Morpeth earlier this year, I made some excellent new contacts and discovered science-based businesses that I was not aware of before. With the talent and innovation we have right here on our doorstep, there are real opportunities to do business together and share resources, while promoting the science and technology sector to a wider audience.

“Informal Fridays are relaxed, stimulating events that are a great asset to the regional economy and I think that Newcastle Science City should be praised for taking this step.”

The Morpeth even will be held in Beetroot Grill at 42 Bridge Street and the Sunderland session will be in Eauzone, on Norfolk Street. Both events will run from 8am to 10am on their respective dates and are free to attend.

Future Informal Friday dates are:

Informal Fridays (Sunderland)
EauZone Limited, 24-26 Norfolk Street, Sunniside, SR1 1EE
08:00 – 10:00am

• 8th July
• 12th August
• 9th September
• 14th October
• 11th November
• 9th December
• 13th January

For more information or to sign up go to: http://nscinformalfridaysunderland.eventbrite.com/

Informal Fridays (Morpeth)
Beetroot Cafe, 42 Bridge Street, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1NL
08:00 – 10:00am

• 17th June
• 15th July
• 19th August 16th September
•  21st October
• 18th November
• 16th December
• 20th January 

To find out more or to sign up go to: http://nscinformalfridaymorpeth.eventbrite.com/