Exchange welcomes successful alumni as mentors to sixth Manchester cohort

Tech scaleup support programme, Exchange has welcomed a bank of new additions to its mentor and advisory network including three successful alumni entrepreneurs, as it onboards its sixth cohort of early-stage businesses.

Sean Brown, serial tech entrepreneur and CEO at Versori, Sam Royle, CEO of SoSquared, and Lesley Calland, founder at myonlinecoach have all joined the programme to pass on their experiences and expertise of starting and scaling a business in recent years, to the new group of 27 tech businesses.

As it enters its third year, the Exchange programme has developed into one of the leading accelerators in the North with our members now spanning both Manchester and Leeds. It is now grown its mentor and advisory network to extend the unique support offered to its diverse mix of tech startups, which span many established and emerging sectors. It has supported over 140 businesses to date.

The mentor and advisory network aims to offer experienced insights and advice on various issues that face early-stage businesses. The network is made up of experts across all areas of business support including Exchange alumni, serial entrepreneurs, and tech experts. They are on hand to share their wisdom, including programme Entrepreneur in Residence, Mark Kuhillow to the Manchester cohort at Department Bonded Warehouse in Enterprise City, St. John’s.

Lesley Calland, Founder at myonlinecoach, commented: “Becoming a tech startup founder was a leap of faith for me following a 12-year career as an executive business coach. I wanted to break the stereotype of a typical tech founder and show that starting a business can happen at any age, regardless of experience, gender, or demographic.

“Becoming a mentor on Exchange gives me the opportunity to share my experience of making a life-changing career transition. This is often stigmatised for women already in a successful career. I owe a lot of my confidence as a founder to Exchange, and I hope I can encourage more people to take the risk and dream big.”

The expansion of its support network comes as 15 new innovative early-stage business are set to join the programme, alongside 12 existing members extending their stay for another six months.

The sixth cohort of members span various sectors from fintech and edtech to fashion-tech and ecommerce marketplaces. Uppercent, Arcube, FungALL, Sticky, TAP’N’Tour, Featherbed Tales, Prooferr, Wellpal, Crocodile Media, Dustid, CarLer, Konkr, The Grading Club, ARAY and GOAT Platform are all joining the scheme.

With the diverse group of founders joining the scheme, the ever-growing mentor and advisory network is well-placed guide them through the startup journey.

Alice Pickersgill, Head of Exchange commented: “A key aspect of Exchange’s future success is the mentor and advisory network that we have been developing in the last year.

It’s great to be able to welcome back previous Exchange members as mentors, who can share their recent experiences of scaling with founders that find themselves in the same position. It’s testament to the community we have created here at Exchange that founders want to return and reciprocate the support they received even after they have graduated from the programme.

“We want to offer members a holistic support offering that caters to their specific needs, dependent on the sector they operate in and their own personal circumstances. This meant expanding our remit and developing a programme that truly reflects its members. By engaging with our successful alumni and those experienced within the industry, we have established a network that we aim to continually expand. Hopefully with the support made available by this network, we can continue to aid the growth of some of the UK’s top tech businesses.”