New digital programme to help businesses grow

New digital programme to help businesses grow

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) has launched a free programme to help the region’s businesses make the most of digital technology.

The Growth through Digital Technology programme, aimed at SMEs, will focus on utilising technology to promote business growth and expansion.

It is a partnership between the North East LEP and some of the technology sector’s biggest names including Microsoft, BT, Google, Uber and Nominet.

Local partners include the Federation of Small Businesses, Asian Business Connexions, Sunderland Software City, Digital Skills Academy and the Department for International Trade.

The first event on Thursday 24 November - delivered by BT in association with Uber and the SME Centre of Excellence - will focus on using technology to deliver faster and more profitable growth.

Speakers include Mike Jones, an entrepreneur with a number of small businesses, formerly founding MD of BT Local Business, a BT division serving over one million SME customers; and Senior Operations Manager at Uber UK, Gemma Bloemen.

Colin Bell, business growth director at the North East LEP, said: “We’ve teamed up with organisations including FSB, BT and Nominet to help small to medium sized businesses in the North East LEP area use digital technology to scale up.

“Our series of free masterclasses and seminars will cover everything from selling online to attracting new customers. We’ll also be looking at how digital technology can be used to control costs and finances, as well as build long-term business resilience.

“We’ll be helping businesses access free advice from experts in the field so they can draft and implement a digital strategy that works for their business.”

Chris Yiu, general manager at Uber, added: "We’re really excited to be involved with the North East LEP. There is a fantastic tech scene here in the North East and we really want to play a role in making it a leading tech hub."

In addition to the series of free masterclasses and seminars, funding to support businesses in developing a digital technology action plan has been secured via Northumberland-based enterprise agency NBSL and the North East Business Support Fund.

Colin added: “This is a fantastic programme and one that many businesses could really benefit from. Research has shown that organisations that adopt digital technology grow faster and enjoy higher growth profits. That’s something we want more companies in the North East to achieve.”

Some of the free masterclasses businesses can sign up to include; ‘Attracting customers with killer content’, ‘Using the cloud to manage operations and mange performance’ and ‘Using digital technology to trade internationally’.

For more information and to book a place on one of the Growth through Digital Technology masterclasses, visit

The programme’s first event, ‘Delivering faster and more profitable growth’, takes place on Thursday 24 November. (