Real examples from growing businesses that are delivering on the Newcastle Helix vision.
Health technology company Changing Health are growing fast! Founder Professor Mike Trenell launched this dynamic start-up in 2016 with a clear mission; to deliver behaviour change at scale. And thanks to four years of sustained growth, the business now employs more than 25 people in the North East.
Changing Health moved into The Core on the Newcastle Helix development in 2017 with the express aim of growing their team. The business has already expanded their office three times in three years; up-sizing to new floors and re-configuring spaces to keep pace with their rapid recruitment.
Benefiting from flexible lease terms, a supportive Centre Team, reasonable rates and grow-on workspace, Changing Health achieved sustained growth whilst with The Core, and were able to make their planned move to neighbouring building, The Catalyst, earlier this year.
A purpose-built home to The National Innovation Centre for Ageing, The Catalyst opened its doors on the Newcastle Helix site in 2019. Changing Health’s initial base, The Core, was the first workspace to open on this 24-acre development in November 2014. And as such it became a hub for Newcastle Helix tech and science community. Not just a building for those early-adopter workspace tenants, but a common meeting ground for those invested in the wider development, and a glimpse into the future of this burgeoning innovation community based in central Newcastle; delivering research, products and services for global markets.
The next landmark workspace due to launch in March on the Newcastle Helix development, will be The Lumen. Like The Core, it is managed by northern placemaking and property management company, Creative Space Management. Each of the Newcastle Helix workspaces deliver research and business communities a unique proposition designed to feed and enhance the carefully crafted ecosystem.
Changing Health now has a team of 18 working from The Catalyst and a further six operating remotely. This year the team successfully launched their digital platform into new international markets. Their behaviour change programmes aim to improve the health and quality of life of those at risk of, and living with, Type 2 Diabetes. As new technology and evidence-based approaches continue to drive behaviour change at scale, this impressive start-up has big plans for further growth.
Head of operations, Gemma Johnson explains the important role community and space has played in their growth to date: “When I first joined the team in 2017, we had products in development and were close to signing some key contracts, but we had no real base from which to grow and everyone was working independently. In fact, my first job for the company was to find us a home! We bought into the Newcastle Helix vision straight away and were entirely focused on getting a spot at The Core. Everything about it fits with our story, what we want to do, where we want to be and how we want to get there.”
Gemma added: “The Core and wider Newcastle Helix development promotes the use of tech and science to make a positive impact. The way the buildings are designed, as workspaces, but also as connectors and feeders to one-and-other, builds community, supports growth and creates collaboration opportunities.
“We have received such incredible support to grow and to thrive whilst at The Core, and now that is continuing at The Catalyst. This is the reason we wanted to call Newcastle Helix home. We take the view that the whole site is one big community. You may find yourself in a different building, but the landscaping of the development as well as the event series that animates it, has been designed to drive connections and collaboration opportunities. We just wouldn’t get this if we were based elsewhere.”
Changing Health work at the forefront of lifestyle change and health tech innovation. Their founding team has already achieved more than 100 peer reviewed published papers and collaborations with Newcastle University, Southampton University, the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Diabetes UK. With IP and Licenses from these leading studies, this year the Newcastle-based team are preparing for further expansion as they grow market share overseas.