The Sunderland-based business support organisation has opened its Innovate for Good incubator at its new Innovation Zone.
Jane Imrie

North East BIC launches region’s first social enterprise incubator

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has launched the region’s first incubator for social enterprises.

The Sunderland-based business support organisation has opened its Innovate for Good incubator at its new Innovation Zone.

12 local businesses have become the facility’s first cohort, working on projects with potential to tackle issues including inequality, poverty, isolation, climate change, ill-health and disability.

Businesses in the programme have access to the incubator’s collaborative working space as well as a range of practical tools and specialist support.

North East BIC chief executive, Paul McEldon, commented: “Social entrepreneurs play a crucial role in the UK economy and are on a mission to change the world – but they can’t do it on their own.

“Innovate for Good is all about creating the right environment to develop, test and structure their ideas, giving them the best possible chance of success.

“As a successful social enterprise ourselves, the BIC is dedicated to finding and encouraging ethical and sustainable ways of doing business and we have 25 years’ experience to share.”

North East BIC social enterprise manager, Kevin Marquis, added: “The North East has always been a hotbed for social enterprise. Industrial challenges and societal issues have led to the emergence of innovative solutions and the social enterprise model is best placed to address and deliver these.

“Social enterprises are in our neighbourhoods and on our high streets – from coffee shops and care homes to banks and bus companies. The sector is going through something of a revolution with the rise of conscious consumers who take more interest in the ethical practices of who they buy from.

“We are incredibly excited to help drive forward this momentum, encouraging a new wave of dynamic social enterprises who have the potential to make a real difference to the North East.”

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