North East Growth Hub goes live

North East Growth Hub goes live

Over 200 members of the business and business support community gathered to attend the launch of a new platform designed to provide North East businesses with the support they need to innovate, compete and grow in domestic and international markets.

Growth Hub Goes Live, held today at Sage Gateshead, revealed the new online resource and featured presentations and panel discussions from key business figures.

Compiling business information, advice and knowledge from the local business community, as well as regional and national business support and finance providers, the new digital platform will target growing SME’s with up to 250 members of staff.

The new platform was developed by the North East LEP in partnership with Escher Group, Cobweb information and Daykin & Storey, and is a free membership resource.

North East LEP chairman, Andrew Hodgson, said: “The Growth Hub is a single reference point for SMEs of all sizes to receive help and provide help for other businesses.

“Members will find advice on every aspect of running and growing a business and can click into both peer to peer support, and support from local, regional and national providers.”

The introduction day was designed to showcase how the growth hub can benefit businesses and featured a talk from Hodgson, the chief executive of subsea company Soil Machine.

The line-up also included host John Myers, radio executive and speaker who runs Myers Media; Paul Varley, chair of the LEP’s Business Growth Board and former managing director of Carillion Energy Services; and Julian Leighton, chief executive of Newcastle-based creative agency Orange Bus.

Mr Varley said: “I’ve gone from leading big corporate organisations to starting a small business, and have found that there’s a myriad of business support out there, but it can be hard to know what’s important.

“The Growth Hub is there to help businesses get to the right destination faster.”

A panel discussion also brought together Pamela Petty, managing director of Ebac Group, Dr Craig Rose, a marine biologist and entrepreneur, who runs Seaweed & Co, and Neil Spann, managing director of Big Solar Ltd.

Dr Rose, whose business was one of the first to benefit from the Start & Grow programme in the North East, said: “When I was starting the business I looked for support providers that could share my enthusiasm and help me get to the next stage of growth.

“Finding the right support can be challenging, and, when you’re starting and running a business, prioritising time and resource away from sales and other activities is difficult.

“The Growth Hub is an exciting prospect as it will simplify this process and help business owners find the right support at the right time.”