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Hundreds hear from North East Chemical Processing leaders

Hundreds delegates from 240 North East companies descended on Newton Aycliffe’s Xcel Centre to hear from key figures in the North East Chemical-Processing sector.

470 delegates attened NEPIC’s Annual Meet the Members event - the largest conference the cluster has organised to date, which showcased innovation happening within the region.

13 key note presentations, delivered by leading business and industry figures, took place throughout the day and focused on mentoring for growth and supply chain enhancement within the North East Chemical-Processing sector.

Investment project updates were delivered by Lotte Chemical UK – who discussed their current PET plant expansion at Wilton and Sembcorp Utilities UK, who gave an insight into the soon-to-commence Wilton 11 Waste from Energy Plant.

Sirius Minerals provided an update on the eagerly anticipated York Potash Project, the planned Mineral Transport System line to Teesside and subsequent processing plant.

Dermot Roddy, chief technology officer at Five Quarter spoke of the company’s recent underground coal gasification developments and the opportunities it offers to the supply chain in the North East: “The opportunity in gas from rocks that Five-Quarter is pursuing provides vital advantaged feedstocks for the North East’s process industries and a major opportunity for their supply base. I want people to know that it’s coming.”

Opportunities arising from technological developments were shared by Applied Graphene Materials and Roy Sandbach of the North East Local Enterprise partnership.

Jon Mabbitt, CEO at Applied Graphene Materials, discussed the ‘wonder material’ that has the scientific world excited and how this relativity new Wilton-based business is developing graphene’s potential.

Paul Harrison, UK procurement manager at Huntsman Polyurethanes shared his long experience in this field and offered insights into how to access the procurement departments of multinationals.

This was complimented by a series of presentations how best to access investment opportunities through the correct use of PR, media relations and personal selling techniques.

Delegates heard from speakers Rachel Bullock, News Correspondent at ITV Tyne Tees News, who discussed how to make the most of the media; Sarah Castle of Think Big Training – an expert in personal selling techniques; and former BBC broadcast journalist Anna Addison of Anna Addison Associates, who discussed the importance of PR.

92 exhibitor stands filled the floor at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe, predominately small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to engage and establish business links with companies in the process chemical sector across North East England.

Kate Baucherel, business development director, JDrew Creations, an exhibitor at the event said: “Meet the Members was a fantastic event. We had plenty of enthusiastic visitors to our stand, we made some good quality contacts during the day, and we have potential leads to follow up.”

NEPIC’s SME scheme, Business Acceleration for SMEs (BASME) held one-to-one Mentor Meeting sessions throughout the day where SMEs on the BASME programme had the opportunity to pre-book meetings with representatives from the sectors strongest players.

125 one-to-one mentor meetings took place at the event. 24 BASME firms met with 20 key companies from the sector. Companies such as; Lotte, SABIC, Tata Steel, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and ABB, to name but a few, offered their time and expertise to mentor SMEs in becoming established suppliers.

Neil Cooke, area sales executive, Tomlinson Hall, who participated in the one-to-one mentor meetings, commented: “The meetings with the mentors were extremely helpful as they enabled us to establish a new dialogue with key companies.

“I’ve gained several quality contacts and left with some new leads to follow up. The mentors I spoke with were happy to recommend us to their contacts, so that could potentially lead to further opportunities too.

“I met with a supply chain manager at one firm, which was an ideal match because they were able to provide us with great information – they were the perfect person to speak with.”

NEPICs Regional Growth Fund supported BASME programme has to date supported over 329 SMEs, and has helped to create 450 new jobs for the region.

Meet the Members 2014 was kindly sponsored by Teesside-based, Johnson Matthey subsidiary, Tracerco and two of the regions upcoming SME’s – Teesprint & Design and Newton Aycliffe based Anson Corporate Media.

The Event is now in its fourth year and it has grown into the networking conference for chemical-processing business and its suppliers.

NEPIC Business Acceleration Programme manager and former Croda site director, Felix O’Hare said: “Meet the Members gets stronger every year. It’s a real credit to the region to hear about all the fantastic opportunities for investment and growth that are here on our doorstep.

“I’ve had great feedback about the event from many of the talented SMEs on our BASME programme. Several of them have made powerful contacts today either as an exhibitor or by participating in the one-to-one mentor meetings. It’s been a very successful day for everyone involved.“

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