Sage, the market and technology leader for managing everything from money and people, today announced the four UK winners of the inaugural Start-Up Exchange Programme.

 The international business exchange programme was launched by tech giant Sage in partnership with the Department for International Trade and Invest Atlanta in July to showcase the start-up talent the country has.

The four start-ups that have been chosen for a residency programme to identify potential investors and clients in Atlanta, a city twinned with Newcastle where Sage’s HQ is based, are:

  • Drone Ops – a business that specialises in the research and development of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) and robotic technologies, based in Newcastle.
  • Recite Me – a cloud based web accessibility solution aimed at making websites as inclusive as possible, also based in Newcastle.
  • Citizen – this company uses biometric technology to help organisations grow customer engagement and combat fraud by validating identity, based in London.
  • Immersive Labs – this is a cyber assessment platform, based in Bristol. It helps organisations measure their current cyber skills, identify hidden cyber talent and develop new cyber skills.

According to the judging panel, all businesses showed great international scalability and were a good fit for the US marketplace, with solid potential for growth.

Sage partnered with the UK Department for International Trade, Newcastle City Council, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, to bring the Atlanta International Start-up Exchange to the UK.

Two businesses will also travel from Atlanta to the North East as part of the programme:

  • Baby Logger – a company that develops a range of devices to help families record their baby’s activities – and
  • Qoins – a company that uses spare change from everyday transactions to automatically pay off debt.

These visits have been timed to coincide with part in Venture Fest North East, an event aimed at helping local businesses use innovation to remain relevant, competitive and profitable.

Businesses that applied to take part in the programme had to show an ambition to expand into new markets and operate in the smart cities, cybersecurity or aerospace sectors.

The Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, Greg Hands, said: ““The four winning UK companies are showcasing the sort of creativity and innovation which makes the UK a tech leader. It’s great to see them given this opportunity to reach new international customers with Department for International Trade support along with Sage and Invest Atlanta.”

The programme was developed to showcase the start-up tech talent the UK has to offer, while providing the successful businesses with new international business opportunities and experiences, which they can use to deliver their growth plans.

Alan Laing, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Sage, said: “Sage started as a small business in the North East of England back in 1981 so we understand the mentality and raw ambition business owners here have particularly at this early phase of their growth.

“We know by nurturing innovation early in a business’ life cycle you can improve their growth prospects. This programme is important to Sage, as the champion of small and medium businesses. We want to help give back and provide businesses with invaluable support and guidance for taking their next steps, whether that’s growing, expanding into new markets, or looking at how tech can help them be at the forefront of innovation. Ultimately, that helps the UK economy –  as these businesses have a vital role to play in boosting productivity and fuelling the economic growth within their region.”


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