Learning Programme

Founders' Network

Tech North
The North of England, 2017


I led on the strategic and operational design, development, and management of Founders’ Network, taking one of Tech North’s flagship programmes right through from initial concept to execution. This included working with educators, facilitators, and speakers to co-create content.

Founders’ Network took place across 18 events over 6 months for 500+ founders in North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humber, and was the highest rated programme across all Tech City UK and Tech North programmes.

As part of the programme, I designed and ran the Founders’ Network Summit, a one-day conference for 100+ founders from across the North, held in Sheffield.


I met Laura through her work as Programme Lead on the Founders’ Network. A series of incredibly rewarding events spread across the North of England. She’s done a tremendous job curating the programme, which I think will be proven to be important in the coming years. Everyone that I spoke to that attended one of Laura’s events got something from it. That’s a pretty rare thing, and something Laura should be incredibly proud of.
— Saul Gowens, Founder and CEO, Websand
Laura, just wanted to send a big congrats on Founders’ Network Summit; it was a top-notch event. The guests were all fantastic. They managed to walk the fine balance of being both entertaining and sharing huge knowledge that I’ve rarely (or never) heard elsewhere. Both an honour and a pleasure to be involved. Not to mention that the day-of operations were flawless.

But most important was what I saw from the guests. At a typical conference, it’s expected to see the guests wandering through in a daze, shuffling to their next session and ignoring their peers except for the formulaic exchange of business cards...

At the Summit, however, everywhere I looked, attendees were helping each other. The most clear-cut example was two guys who met each other there, and after a session by Devin on how to run a user test, I saw them spend the next hour lost deep in user testing each other’s apps and filling up pages of their notebooks with feedback. And in many of the conversations I joined, instead of the usual PR bravado (“look how great we are”), folks were asking for (and getting) real help (“man this is hard, how did you guys deal with it?”).

I think that what I saw is a testament to the community you’ve built over the past half-year at the Founders’ Network. Even the attendees who were joining the Summit without being a part of FN seemed to “get” the culture and fit right into the correct mode of learning and helping instead of selling and pitching. Overall, one of the most enjoyable conferences I’ve been to. Hope you’re able to continue building the northern community. It’s already moved a huge distance in the right direction.
— Rob Fitzpatrick, Partner, Founder Centric