A business support project has provided innovation grants totalling nearly £90,000 to SMEs looking to drive innovation in its latest wave of funding.
Since the GX Project started in 2018, £245,000 of funding has been granted for businesses in the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) area, with 23 companies supported since March 2020.
One company that has been supported by the project is education recruitment platform Premier Teachers. Based in Sunderland, the organisation will use the grant to develop a highly innovative education platform and App which enables education staff and schools to connect directly.
Mike Donnelly, Managing Director of Premier Teachers, said: “The GX Project has been a fantastic help to our business. I was surprised at how streamlined the grant application process was and the support from the team at GX has been excellent.
“I think in these current times, all businesses should be looking at what innovative products they could be exploring. Although it requires some time investment, it can yield results beyond what the business can achieve without innovation.
“If you have an innovation project and are looking at support, I would highly recommend linking in with GX activities to help your project.”
The grants are part of the GX Project, a legacy of the Great Exhibition of the North designed to support innovations and collaborations among North East SMEs. Alongside the grants, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Innovation SuperNetwork have been running a series of webinars, meetings and workshops to support businesses through the current challenges surrounding Covid-19.
A new Innovation Boot Camp for North East businesses (NELEP region) has also been launched to help businesses developing new innovations during this time, whether it’s an existing idea or a new innovation which is helping the business align with the changing demands of the market. Through three two-hour sessions the fully-funded programme will advise SMEs on how to strengthen their recovery and maximise the success of innovation development.
Sophie Hardwick, GX Innovation Manager at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We’re speaking to businesses every day that are adapting their business model to respond to the changing demands of their customer base. This programme is designed to offer expert guidance and support through the process of innovation development.”
The GX Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative working in partnership with the Innovation SuperNetwork.