I’m a bit late to the party on this one but that’s not because of lack of interest. Rather I wanted to speak to some of the businesses in our network to get their view on the Newcastle Tech Trust before commenting. Of course, on the face of it peer-to-peer support makes perfect sense and I wouldn’t argue against it. But I was interested in other people's soundings on the best way to do it.

I’ll be honest here – I’ve seen (and experienced) some terrible mentors, those perpetual ever-presents selling their wares as ‘experts’ to bright young (and sometimes naïve) start-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some great people on the North East start-up scene that have for years offered their support to new start-ups, with no regard for their own remuneration.  Quite frankly, these people are amazing and if you are in the tech scene in the region you’ll know who they are. If you’re not, I believe this is exactly what the Newcastle Tech Trust will do – it will introduce you to them.

So, what about the less-than-useful ‘mentors’?  For a lot of the recent past, public funding has supported their offering. "Ironic" I hear you think - me saying this (as a publicly funded organisation) - but Software City has never run a mentor scheme. Moving forward, we all need to work with the Tech Trust to push more quality mentors into their peer-support network.  In doing so I’m confident that the pool of good mentors will increase and the number of not-so-good mentors will dry to a puddle.  

This all links to the second purpose of Tech Trust – advocacy.  We need to shout about the hidden gems in the region and in return for this advocacy we can get the great – but relatively hidden – people to support the emerging generation of tech start-ups.

I wish Newcastle Tech Trust the very best in its endeavours and am openly saying Sunderland Software City is more than happy to get involved for the greater good of the whole North East tech sector.