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Start-ups get boost from IT conference

PUBLISHED: 17:53 11 February 2013 | UPDATED: 18:56 11 February 2013

Sync Norwich founders John Fagan (SyncConf organisor), Paul Grenyer  (SyncConf organisor), Stephen Pengilley, Seb Butcher, and Juliana Meyer

Sync Norwich founders John Fagan (SyncConf organisor), Paul Grenyer (SyncConf organisor), Stephen Pengilley, Seb Butcher, and Juliana Meyer

James Neale

Norwich-based IT firms are gearing up for an inaugral conference event with a plan to help kick start a local business.

The SyncNorwich group, whose members are software entrepreneurs and developers, based in and around the city, is planning to give all of the profits from its February 15 conference to a local tech start-up.

The move is designed to provide seed funding to a new business that can prove it has the best chance of success and go on to create local jobs.

The SyncConf will take place at the Open Venue.

To be eligible, all candidates will need to apply to take part in a Dragon’s Den style competition to be held at a future SyncNorwich event. Each candidate will receive coaching by Richard Patey of StartUpNorfolk, before pitching their business to a panel of judges made up of local, independent entrepreneurs. The funds will be awarded to the winner shortly afterwards.

Paul Grenyer, co-founder of SyncNorwich and director of Naked Element Ltd, said: “Our first conference in February 2013 will host some of the best speakers in the software development industry in the UK. We are really pleased our speakers are visiting Norwich as part of their international conference speaking circuit. It will certainly deliver plenty of education, inspiration and information. But unlike other conferences, all profits will be ploughed straight back into the east of England. We want to catapult a local business forward in the hope that they will go on to become a local employer in the near future.”

John Fagan, co-founder of SyncNorwich and head of software engineering at Axon Active AG, Switzerland said: “We are really excited about the possibility of funding a local tech start-up here in Norwich. The ideal scenario is to find a recent graduate with a great idea, who needs a little capital to build and test their concept in the marketplace. The funding will be our way of giving something back to the community. If we can help them on their way and see them generate more local jobs, then it will be mission accomplished and we can start looking forward to 2014.”

SyncNorwich has attracted over 400 members since starting in June 2012, and continues to grow. Its rapid growth is an indicator that the IT industry could be a major force in economic growth for Norwich.

Full details of the SyncNorwich conference schedule and speaker profiles can be viewed at www.syncconf.com/schedule.

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