North East businesses urged to take advantage of funding extension

13th Jun 2022

Supply Chain North East is urging businesses throughout the local authority areas of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and County Durham to take advantage of business support funding that has been extended until June 2023.

The Supply Chain North East programme, delivered by RTC North, North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and Generator, has received the funding extension from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), allowing North East SMEs to access 12 hours of business support through the programme until June 2023.

The North East is home to a significant cluster of process, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and has more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these industries; generating £26 billion of annual sales, employing over 190,000 people and exporting £12 billion each year.

Since 2004, 83 process sector investment projects have been delivered in the North East valued at £4.3 billion, making the process industry one of the largest sectors in the region and one that continues to experience substantial growth following huge investment plans.

As the largest process cluster in the UK representing over 300 process sector companies, ten of which generate over £10 billion turnover, NEPIC is encouraging small businesses to take advantage of this growing sector by signing up to the programme to benefit from 12 hours of support, which can help SMEs successfully enter the process industries’ supply chain.

The programme delivered by NEPIC involves events such as ‘RE:CHARGE’ and ‘Introduction to the Process Sector’ that includes a tour of The Wilton International site and access to various networking events attended by key industry leaders, such as their annual ‘Clean Growth’ and ‘Digitalisation’ conferences.

Programme manager for Supply Chain North East at RTC North, Alan Whittaker commented:

“As programme lead for Supply Chain North East, we are delighted to welcome a 12 month extension to continue supporting our local SME’s on Supply Chain related themes. There are huge opportunities coming to the region, especially as we work towards the levelling up agenda. I encourage all businesses to reach out to Supply Chain where we can help ensure their companies are not only aware of the current and future opportunities but are able to take full advantage.”

Dawn Musgrave, project manager for Supply Chain North East at NEPIC said:

“As a partner of Supply Chain North East, NEPIC are thrilled the funding has been extended to allow small businesses to take advantage of the programme. It’s a great opportunity that will allow more SMEs to tap into the process, chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the North East, which would not be possible without this support programme.

“As the process industry in the North East is one of the largest sectors with huge investment plans across the sub regions, we thoroughly encourage businesses to get involved. Supply Chain North East can support SMEs to get into the process industry sector through business development, including workshops and seminars, plus give those businesses access to NEPIC events with key industry figures, such as our high profile event of the year, Meet the Members.

“Our advisors will work directly with companies who have signed up to create a tailored business development plan that fits with their individual needs and business goals, ultimately helping them to unlock opportunities in this exciting new market.”

Back in 2020, Wellbeing Works, a Newcastle-based psychological safety and performance company achieved huge success by securing a client within the chemical industry after completing the Supply Chain North East programme.

Chief executive for Wellbeing Works, Hamish Moore, said: “Taking part in the Supply Chain North East project gave us an invaluable insight that completely changed our perception of the North East’s chemical industry, as well as with a greater understanding of the supply chain within the sector.

“It’s this new understanding which we wouldn’t have had without the programme, that has enabled us to diversify our offering and gain new business. We’d highly recommend others to take part.”

To register, companies must be a small to medium enterprise that employs less than 250 people and operates within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area.

Take advantage of this free business support programme and discover how your company can successfully enter the process industry sector, email Dawn Musgrave, project manager at NEPIC for more information on how to sign up to Supply Chain North East:

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