• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

CaptureMore than 200 members of the business and business support community attended the launch of a new platform designed to provide North East businesses with the support they need to innovate, compete and grow in domestic and international markets.

Growth Hub Goes Live, held at Sage Gateshead on Thursday (April 28), introduced the new online resource to users and featured presentations and panel discussions from key members of the region’s business community.

The new digital platform, which provides access to business information, advice and knowledge from the local business community and regional and national business support and finance providers, has been developed by the North East LEP in partnership with Escher Group, Cobweb Information and Daykin & Storey. It’s particularly targeted at growing SMEs with up to 250 members of staff.

The introduction day for the new resource was designed to showcase how businesses can use the Growth Hub, whether they are looking for advice, access to finance, or seeking new connections and collaborations to expand their business.

Business support and finance providers were also on hand to speak to delegates about the resources available to help their enterprises to grow and how they can make best use of the Growth Hub.

The online platform is a free membership resource, where registered users can link into a huge online network of businesses, support providers and connections designed to help them solve problems and improve every aspect of their business from competitiveness to productivity and innovation.

North East LEP chairman, Andrew Hodgson, said: “The Growth Hub is a single reference point for SMEs of all sizes to receive help and provide help for other businesses.

“Members will find advice on every aspect of running and growing a business and can click into both peer to peer support, and support from local, regional and national providers.”

Mr Hodgson, the chief executive of subsea company Soil Machine Dynamics, was among the keynote speakers at the event. The line-up also included host John Myers, radio executive and speaker who runs Myers Media; Paul Varley, chair of the LEP’s Business Growth Board and former managing director of Carillion Energy Services; and Julian Leighton, chief executive of Newcastle-based creative agency Orange Bus.

Mr Varley said: “I’ve gone from leading big corporate organisations to starting a small business, and have found that there’s a myriad of business support out there, but it can be hard to know what’s important.

“The Growth Hub is there to help businesses get to the right destination faster. The community will massively improve businesses’ ability to share the paths they’ve taken to be successful, which will in turn help other companies access the support they need.”

A panel discussion also brought together Pamela Petty, managing director of Ebac Group, Dr Craig Rose, a marine biologist and entrepreneur, who runs Seaweed & Co, selling seaweed health and nutrition products, and Neil Spann, managing director of Big Solar Ltd.

Dr Rose, whose business was one of the first to benefit from the Start & Grow programme in the North East, said: “When I was starting the business I looked for support providers that could share my enthusiasm and help me get to the next stage of growth.

“Finding the right support can be challenging, and, when you’re starting and running a business, prioritising time and resource away from sales and other activities is difficult. The Growth Hub is an exciting prospect as it will simplify this process and help business owners find the right support at the right time.”

For Orange Bus’s Julian Leighton, the mentoring aspect of the Growth Hub is of particular interest.

He said: “Mentoring has always been hugely important to us, being able to ask the advice of those who’ve been through all this before gives you a chance to avoid making common mistakes. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Growth Hub can support this process, helping to connect business leaders with the appropriate advice and guidance as and when they need it.”

More information about the North East Growth Hub, including how to join the network, is available at www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk.

By admin