North-East SME Programme Creates 170 jobs in a Year

North East ProcessA scheme designed to help the north-east’s businesses to grow and expand has led to more than 170 jobs being created in the last year alone. The Business Acceleration for SMEs programme, which was launched in 2012, was designed to help 400 small to medium-sized enterprises develop their sales to the process industry through a combination of mentoring, events and workshops.

 

Creating Jobs in the North East

The North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) is in charge of delivering the £1.5 million scheme, which so far has 200 companies on its books – half of the anticipated final total of 400. NEPIC represents more than 500 businesses in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and energy and renewables sectors, making up nearly a third of the north-east’s industrial base.

In a press release, the organisation said the programme promotes export opportunities and improves processes in order to bring new products and services to the market.

 

Building a Supply Chain

It is supported by 120 mentors working in the process industry, all of whom have pledged to support the region’s small businesses and offer assistance on the road to becoming established suppliers to the process sector. According to NEPIC, this hands-on approach to developing the north-east’s small business community can have a much more lasting effect than a single one-off investment.

Additionally, the pilot programme launched in 2011 is credited with delivering some £3.3 million of new business to 16 SMEs in the north-east within nine months. Overall, the scheme is expected to deliver a total of £40 million during its three-year run.

“We have a fascinating portfolio of north-east companies on board and have already developed some impressive case studies,” said Stan Higgins, chief executive of NEPIC. “The combined efforts of the team, our industry-mentors and the participating SMEs have led to the creation of 170 jobs in 18 months – if this were a new investor to the region it would be front page news.”

Ian Stark, chief executive officer of Middlesbrough-based chemical company Chemoxy International, added: “NEPIC have given my business advice on a number of fronts from the support agencies we needed to carry out our management buy-out, to supply chain connections and new business opportunities. NEPIC’s advice and contacts have helped to grow our business by £4 million and create 20 additional jobs.”

 

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About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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