Capture6A regional enterprise agency, based in the North East, has been accredited with the EBN seal of approval for the 21st consecutive year.

Forging links throughout Europe is one of the specialities of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC). As an active member of the European BIC Network (EBN), it has influential contacts throughout Europe to help the region’s businesses to secure new lucrative markets.

The EBN, based in Brussels, was set up in 1984 and the North East BIC is the only accredited BIC for the region. The EBN is a network of 160 quality certified EU-BICS and over 100 associate members that support the development and growth of innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs.

With a team of 50 staff based at Sunderland Enterprise Park, the BIC has grown since joining the EBN network 21 years ago to become one of the largest BIC’s in Europe, in terms of the number of companies it supports and jobs created each year.

David Howell, director of operations at the BIC said: “The EBN is a powerful network and best practice reference point for innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship in Europe.  It offers services aimed at co-ordinating the activities of the BICs.

“The BIC in Sunderland is now regarded as one of the most proactive BICs in Europe and we regularly receive visitors from the EBN network of companies from across Europe on fact finding missions to learn the secrets of our success.

“To become a certified EU-BIC you have to ensure you have a positive economic impact in the region and to date we have secured over 7,000 jobs and have a business start-up statistic that outstrips the national average, with 75 percent of our clients still trading into their third year. During these years the North East BIC has made strong links with organisations not just inside the region but all over Europe and is currently maximising its connections to offer overseas entrepreneurs an insight into UK business culture.”

David will be representing the North East BIC at the 24th EBN congress at the end of October which focusses on New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs to share best practice and discuss exciting new approaches to supporting innovation.