Estelle Blanks

Estelle Blanks

Estelle Blanks

Estelle is the Executive Director of Innovate NE Ltd which currently runs the North East Innovation SuperNetwork. With over 20 years’ experience in economic development through regeneration and innovation in the North East of England and working across the UK and Europe, Estelle has a thorough understanding of the national and local innovation eco-system. She has directly supported early stage and growing companies attract funding via grants, equity and debt, and runs the FinanceCamp programme, which includes investor readiness activities, to match companies with investors. In partnership with UKBAA, she has developed the Entrepreneurs of the North programme and prepared over 100 northern technology companies pitch to London investors. She is also currently developing the Newcastle Angel Hub to address the lack of Angel investment in the North East England region. Over the years, she has developed a network of over 250 investors locally and nationally and is connected to over 60 partners including universities, business support organisations, national research centres and Catapults.
Since November 2017, Estelle has also led the successful North East Women in Innovation programme to support business growth by addressing barriers linked to unconscious bias and lack of diversity. Prior to joining the company Estelle was Project Director of the JEREMIE 2 funds for the North East and led the development and design of the North East fund including the procurement of the network of fund managers. For over 8 years, she was the Deputy Director of Newcastle Science City working on large scale programmes aimed to develop high-growth companies.