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Sync the City tech event helps Norwich entrepreneurs build a business in 54 hours

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 November 2015

Sync the City 2015. Dr Ross Coomber.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sync the City 2015. Dr Ross Coomber. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

An app to save the NHS millions of pounds and a virtual Christmas list are among the ideas featured in a 54-hour technology start-up event ending tonight.

Sync the City 2015. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSync the City 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

More than 100 tech enthusiasts, one as young as 12, have gathered at the King’s Centre for a three-day event aimed to launch new businesses.

Organised by tech and start-up community Sync Norwich, the Sync The City event is aimed to be a mix between The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den, with a £3,000 prize up for grabs for the winning team.

It has attracted coders, designers, developers and entrepreneurs and students from as far as Peterborough, who have been working on their ideas until 11pm each night.

Among them is NHS trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Ross Coomber, 36, who hopes his idea could save the health service millions of pounds each year by cutting out agency costs in sourcing locum doctors.

Sync the City 2015. Harry Dunn, 13, and, right, James Livesey, 12.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSync the City 2015. Harry Dunn, 13, and, right, James Livesey, 12. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Currently the NHS is under huge financial pressure,” said Dr Coomber. “£3.3bn is spent on temporary staff, and a significant proportion is spent on locum agencies.”

His team is designing a database to connect locum doctors directly with the hospitals that need them.

Docdirect and the 13 other teams will present their prototypes to a panel of judges tonight, to decide on the winner.

For 13-year-old Harry Dunn and his friend James Livesey, 12, the event enabled them to pitch their online Christmas list idea.

Sync the City 2015. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSync the City 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The duo are fluent in coding, and are working with a team of designers, developers and business minds to launch their product.

“The idea is to make a wish list which children can put in what they want for Christmas, and send the link to their parents and family members,” said Harry.

Other ideas included an app to help people with early-stage dementia, technology to provide wifi on the London Underground, and a recipe search engine.

Co-organiser Fiona Lettice, professor of innovation management at the Norwich Business School, said the sold-out event had achieved support from a wide range of sponsors, including Norfolk County Council.

Sync the City 2015. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSync the City 2015. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“People leave here with confidence and are amazed they can build this whole company in 54 hours,” she said. She added it was important for Norwich to shout about its tech community. “Sync Norwich is about trying to say that Norwich is here and there is a lot going on.”

Half of the participants are students from the UEA, Norwich University of the Arts and the College of West Anglia.

Co-founder John Fagan said: “Last year it was very much only our tech community in here, but this year we have had people outside the community coming in.”

Are you launching a new tech business? Call Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879 or email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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