A programme designed to unlock the innovative potential of North East SMEs has been relaunched by the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).

The new programme will build on the success of the BIC’s previous SME Innovation Programme.

It will assist businesses in the region to become more innovative, enabling them to increase their competitiveness and exploit more opportunities – bringing huge benefits to the region.

The BIC has received £899,250 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Over the next three years, the programme will support over 70 SMEs providing the advice and funding required to outsource innovation experts who will help SMEs to develop new products, services or processes and / or help bring them to market.

Innovation Manager at the North East BIC, Elizabeth Shaw, said: “North East SME’s 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.

“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.

“Over the last six years we have worked with a plethora of clients who have gone on to launch innovative products or services ranging from antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) development and DNA-based technology, to digital engineering solutions, clean energy and seaweed-based technology.

“These innovators – on the back of our support – have made a great start in changing the perceptions of the innovative potential of SMEs across the North East.”

The previous SME Innovation Programme ran until August this year.

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