Last year’s Ignite100 teams gather by the Tyne. Picture courtesy Emilia Flockhart

Ignite, the Newcastle-based accelerator programme for early-stage digital businesses, is on the hunt for a new batch of teams to participate.

Entrepreneurs will get help to shape their companies in an intensive 18-week programme, with access to business support and mentoring from some of the best-known digital success stories including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Director of Ignite, Paul Smith, said: “I’m proud that Ignite is continuing to support the region with one of the top accelerator programmes in Europe, and that we’re able to offer an unrivalled network of alumni founders, mentors and investors.”

“We’re keen to attract the highest calibre of entrepreneurs and developers to Newcastle, as the city cements its reputation as one of the most active technology communities outside London.”

This year’s programme will be based in Ignite’s impressive new venue, Campus North, a 10,000 sq ft co-working space in the heart of Newcastle where around 150 developers, designers and entrepreneurs are expected to be based in the space by the end of the year.

Up to 25 teams will receive £18,000 investment each if they are successful in their application to attend one of three programmes taking place in the next 12 months, with the most successful being likely to receive additional investment from the programme’s investors.

Among the angel investors backing Ignite are Steve Pankhurst, Founder of Friends Reunited, Jonathan Forster, MD of Spotify and Duncan Jennings, founder of VoucherCodes.co.uk. Ignite is also backed by  Northstar Ventures through its Finance for Business North East (FBNE) Proof of Concept Fund which is part of the £125m FBNE programme managed by North East Finance. That programme was made possible through funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Ignite supports the already-vibrant community in the North East, with Newcastle and Gateshead now recognised by local and national government as one of the top digital clusters outside London.

Thriving start-ups including Playlists.net, Gavurin and Palringo, as well as games developers such as Eutechnyx and Ubisoft Reflections, and global software giants like Sage are based here.

Interested teams can apply to be part of Ignite at http://ignite.io. Applications for the summer programme must be received by Monday 28 April. Final interviews will be held in late May and the programme itself will begin at the end of June.