Tom Keighley

Innovation should be top priority for NE businesses

Many North East businesses are aiming to drive growth and innovation by investing in new product development in the next 12 months, research has shown.

Of 101 businesses surveyed by Yorkshire Bank, over a fifth said they aimed to invest in product development in the next year.

48% went further to say they plan to invest at least 5% of their annual turnover in growth strategies in the same period.

Almost one in five businesses added that help with research and development costs would do most to foster growth of their company.

Yorkshire Bank’s managing partner in the North East, Simon Lenney, suggested that inspiring innovation should take priority for organisations that influence the regional economy.

He said: ““Whether it’s through television programmes such as Dragon’s Den or Government support for entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors, having an environment where business ideas can be fostered and supported with the appropriate advice and financial support is extremely important.

“North East businesses can’t afford to stand still at the moment. That’s not to say they should be exuberant in their development plans but constantly sharpening their service and looking to fill gaps in the market are important exercises they should be pursuing.

“The region’s enterprises must be constantly looking for new ways to stimulate growth and our research shows that many business people are clearly aiming to take that approach.”

Throughout the year, the Yorkshire Bank North East team has supported several of the region’s innovative businesses through their Financial Solutions Centres in Newcastle and Stockton.

This includes Prudhoe outfit, Global Manufacturing Supplies Ltd, which has expanded into a new 14,000 sq ft warehouse on Low Prudhoe Industrial Estate, as demand for its products in China grows.

Totaly Recycling Services has also expanded with a new waster transfer station and recycling building, along with eight new jobs at Yarm Road Business Park.

Simon continued: “Our commitment to supporting trading and forward-thinking North East businesses is stronger than ever and we continue to attract growing numbers of small and medium sized businesses, all of which is demonstrated by Yorkshire Bank delivering on our two-year promise to make £10b of gross new lending to business and personal customers, ahead of our October 2011 target date.”

Yorkshire Bank has also launched its Investing for Growth package, offering new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and flexible lending, including loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments, and extended loan and credit facilities.

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