L-R: BIC innovation manager Elizabeth Shaw with innovation advisers Michelle Hambleton and Gillian Middleton
L-R: BIC innovation manager Elizabeth Shaw with innovation advisers Michelle Hambleton and Gillian Middleton
Richard Bell

North East BIC launches next round of funding for SME innovators

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has announced the next stage of a programme designed to unlock the potential of SMEs in the region.

The BIC’s new programme, backed with nearly £900k in funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, will work to help North East businesses drive innovation and become more competitive.

During the next three years, the initiative will support more than 70 SMEs with advice and funding.

The BIC will also assist businesses as they outsource innovation experts to help with developing products, services or processes.

Elizabeth Shaw, innovation manager at the North East BIC, said: “North East SMEs have a growing appetite to invest in research and development so I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to continue putting the region on the innovation map.

“In order to prosper, businesses must innovate and whilst most would agree with the sentiment, it can be difficult to know where to begin.”

She continued: “We take pride in the relationship we build with SMEs and partners and, as a result, gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills required to take ideas from concept to reality.

“We’ve already engaged with so many diverse sectors and there’s certainly an upsurge of businesses reinventing their core activity to innovate and think differently.”

The BIC’s previous SME Innovation Programme ended in August.

Speaking further, Elizabeth said that firms supported over the last six years have “gone on to launch innovative products or services” and “made a great start in changing the perceptions of the innovative potential of SMEs across the North East”.

The latest round of ERDF cash was invested as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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