Ruth Mitchell

Lab to boost North East business

A new scheme is being launched to unlock the multi-million pound potential of the North East’s hidden business treasures. Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway and the University of Northumbria are joining forces to create Ideas-lab, a service designed to help companies in the region make the most of their technology and processes.

Alex Shiel, partner and head of intellectual property at Ward Hadaway, said: “Companies could be sitting on a goldmine without knowing it. Ideas-lab will look to identify the potential of companies’ technology and then examine ways to make the most from that, whether by patenting a process, trademarking a design or changing the way they make their products. “This is the first scheme of its kind in the country. The North East has been renowned as a centre for invention and innovation for centuries – and we believe that there is a lot more out there.”

Under the scheme, Ideas-lab will visit businesses to look at how they carry out their work, what processes they use, the way they develop new products and what intellectual property they currently have. A report is then produced outlining the lab’s findings, offering new ideas on how to boost revenue and suggesting ways of developing and protecting their intellectual property.

Stuart English, University of Northumbria school of design principal lecturer, said: “Most companies are too busy thinking about the day to day running of their businesses to consider new ways of making money from their technology. “They could be just one step away from transforming their business and we hope that Ideas-lab can act as that missing piece in the puzzle.”

The service is free and confidential and is being backed with funding from regional development agency One NorthEast. Further details on Ideas-lab are available at

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