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Expert panel prepares for lift off with new space programme


Oct 8, 2016

EXPERTS from a wide range of backgrounds have been signed up to a new programme designed to help entrepreneurs in the North East tap into the billion pound space sector.

The panel appointed to the North East Space Incubator programme comprises experts from a range of industries such as law, financial management, business growth, marketing, and IP protection.

Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, received a grant from the UK Space Agency earlier this year to set up the programme at the North East Technology Park, (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham.

The entrepreneurs who get through to the programme will be entitled to £7,500 worth of professional services and will be based in an environment surrounded by some of the world’s most innovative companies.

The panel which will be working with the entrepreneurs includes:

  • Ross Golightly, director at Sphera Consulting
  • Karen Large of Think Innovative
  • Ian Swain of IS Business & Finance
  • Graeme Jordan of STO Consulting
  • Alex Shiel – Partner and Head of Intellectual Property and IT at law firm Ward Hadaway
  • Antony Hall – Partner and Head of Commercial at Mincoffs Solicitors

The support programme is being delivered in partnership with the UK Space Agency, which has plans for the UK to secure ten per cent of the anticipated £400bn global space market by 2030, and will be part of a network of incubators which will collaborate on events and initiatives.

The £50,000 investment in the programme builds on the significant impact the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, one of only five in the country and also based at NETPark, has already made.

There will be a robust selection process for the innovation support programme with only three coveted places this year.

Catherine Johns, Business Durham’s director of innovation and business growth, said:

“The panel of experts have been chosen to help businesses diversify, innovate and explore the huge potential of this global sector and elevate their ideas to the next level.”

Antony Hall, who has been recognised by the Legal 500 for his work in both the intellectual property and information technology fields, said: “We believe that the people involved in the North East’s technology sector can do remarkable things if they have the necessary tools and resources they need to accelerate their ambitious business ideas.”

Karen Large, who has more than 30 years experience in marketing, communications and commercial roles, said: “We want to support businesses on their journey into the space sector and to help them achieve success through our innovative, yet practical, approach.”

Marketing expert Graeme Jordan, said: “It would be great to help some new and diversifying companies to meet their objectives within the space sector with a strategy that is right first time. I look forward to being involved in such an important project.”

Alex Shiel, recognised for his expertise by both Legal 500 and Chambers and who helps clients protect, develop, exploit and enforce their ideas and new technology, said: “As someone who has worked with a wide range of different start-ups and early stage businesses, I am looking forward to helping businesses launch their ventures on firm foundations and to deal with the legal issues they encounter on their business journey.”

Ian Swain, who will be advising on business planning, strategy and financial management, said: “I am genuinely excited to be working with Business Durham and helping entrepreneurs with a comprehensive strategic plan for future growth while ensuring sound financial management and business resilience.”

And experienced growth strategist and coach, Ross Golightly, who has supported hundreds of high growth companies, added: “Companies can expect to receive hands-on, pragmatic, business-building advice that will lead to increased revenue and profit and accelerated growth. We look forward to working with the participants alongside the other delivery partners.”

By Emily