Navigating Success: Reflections as Supply Chain North East Concludes its Journey
15th Nov 2023
Supply Chain North East was a unique partnership programme from the North East Growth Hub and was delivered by partners across the region: RTC North, Generator, North East Automotive Alliance, and the North East Process Industry Cluster. The programme was funded by the European Union and Northern Powerhouse.
The Supply Chain programme was designed to empower North East businesses, to diversify their offering, expand their customer base and unlock untapped opportunities in new markets. Over three years of sharing expert business advisors’ knowledge the programme created 376 jobs and supported 1138 companies in total, of which 184 were less than 12 months old. The programme provided £1.2 million of grant funding for capital and revenue projects to North-East businesses in the Local Enterprise Partnership area (Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear County Durham) to deliver supply chain-related improvements.
Business support covered a broad range of themes including access to market specialists, sales and marketing support, operational improvement plans, support with digital transformation, knowledge of accreditations and compliance, and support with developing talent. The partners work closely with businesses across the region to open new market opportunities.
The businesses supported were those in sectors which included advanced manufacturing, subsea, offshore and energy technologies, automotive and transport, health, and life sciences, digital, tech and creative, and process, chemical and pharmaceuticals.
Additionally, as part of the programme comprehensive workshops and events programmes were delivered on key topics identified. The programme also developed the “Supply Chain Village concept” at some key regional supply chain events notably Offshore Wind North-East, EMCON, North-East Automotive Alliance Expo and Meet the Members. This enabled beneficiary businesses to promote their products and services through exhibition stands and the development of elevator pitches.
Alan Whittaker, Programme Manager of Supply Chain North East said:
“Supply Chain North East “proved to be a flagship project which engaged some major large enterprises and major supply chain programmes to understand the appetite and opportunities for locally based SMEs to access supply chain opportunities. The programme supported businesses to increase their resilience and to grow and diversify into new supply chains. This was achieved despite some challenges and uncertainty due to EU Exit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward there is more of an appetite for future support to localise supply chains and encourage more SME involvement and content.
“Going forward programmes supported by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, are replacing European Regional Development Funded Programmes. Examples of this include the Durham Productivity and Growth Programme, Tees Valley Supply Chain, and Innovation in Supply Chains West Yorkshire.”
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