2020 has without doubt been an unprecedented year. As we came together in January to celebrate the achievements of industry at the Annual NEPIC Awards Dinner, little did we know that an invisible organism was about to be let loose into our consciousness causing a degree of pandemonium and pandemic in our lives. It brought with it many new and unexpected challenges and diverted our attentions away from Brexit – a subject that we had all expected to dominate 2020.
Despite this, our remarkable network and team responded quickly and rose to the task of supporting and protecting our sector. It is a strong reminder of the power of our network, along with the strength of the outstanding companies and connected business community that call the North East their home. A community that we are so proud to represent.
During 2020 we have continued to grow and support the network. We have welcomed more than 50 new members to the cluster – covering a broad range of product and service offerings. We have delivered more than 80 events, webinars, and workshops –and engaged over 2,600 guests. We also successfully took three major conferences online enabling vital networking, best practice sharing and the showcasing of business opportunities – elements that remain at the heart of our offer.
Our work promoting members increased too and resulted in a two-fold rise in news stories being shared across the network. We also championed the sector by continually promoting our foundation industries and the critical role of the sector during the Covid-19 outbreak.
We continued to play a key role in highlighting the impacts of major regulatory and policy amendments affecting the region and sector. During 2020, we influenced government, regulators, and policy makers in relation to freeports, short haul gas tariffs; Brexit and UK global tax and the levelling-up inquiry. We supported the national focus on sustainability and delivery of a Net Zero economy which will benefit us locally with commitments to recycling of plastics, waste reprocessing and energy generation and of course Net Zero Teesside’s Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage project. We also remain in close and regular contact with LEP’s, MP’s, Government departments – along with the CIA, Chemistry Council and regional cluster bodies across the UK.
The NEPIC team has grown too. We have recruited four new members to the team including three Innovation Managers focusing on pharmaceutical, bioprocessing, and plastic recycling developments – and appointed a Business Development Director to oversee membership and engagement.
At the 2019 Annual General Meeting, we reported the need to achieve a sustainable, secure position for the Cluster that allows us the support members’ needs in the most efficient and quality manner. During 2020, the team continued to work hard to achieve this vision. As a result, we have secured funding from Tees Valley Combined Authority to grow the sector and its supply chain, and from the NE-LEP in support of the Health and Life Sciences Sectors. We have also partnered with Teesside University, CPI and Durham University to deliver vital projects covering bioprocessing, pharmaceuticals, and waste plastics. Furthermore, we remain a key delivery partner in the Supply Chain North East Programme working with NE-LEP based SME’s who are seeking to unlock new market opportunities.
There is no doubt that despite the steps forward in preventing and combatting the effects of Covid-19, that the challenges will continue into 2021. Despite this, we enter the New Year with the power of foresight and a greater understanding of our businesses, and our people. During 2021 we will continue to support your business and work tirelessly to ensure industry in our region thrives. We will continue to represent your needs and views and deliver a programme that will provide your business with valuable growth support.
All that we have achieved this year would not have been possible without you. May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the Cluster and your engagement in our activities. On behalf of the NEPIC team, may I wish you Seasons Greetings and best wishes for 2021. We look forward to working with you long into the future to ensure this region remains a thriving home to the largest single cluster of process, chemicals and energy companies anywhere in the UK.
With best wishes
Chief Executive Officer, NEPIC
During 2020, we pivoted our business offer to ensure we could continue to provide high quality, relevant business support to our members during unprecedented and challenging times.
NEPIC represents the largest single cluster of process, chemicals and energy companies anywhere in the UK, and the second largest in the whole of Europe. We manufacture 50 per cent of UK foundation chemicals and a third of UK pharmaceuticals – bringing more than £2.1 billion of value to the region each year.
Facilitating interactions and enabling connections is at the heart of our work. We create unique insightful and inspirational meetings, workshops and events that promote learning, enable networking and stimulate business growth.
Through our work we promote your business, products and services to NEPIC’s extensive network, whilst championing this sector and region as a great place to do business and supporting local initiatives.
To achieve our vision of a thriving sector in this region, it is vital that government and policymakers understand its importance and take action. During 2020, the NEPIC team played a key role in highlighting the impacts of major regulatory and policy amendments affecting the region and sector covering:
We are continually addressing industry challenges and championing the sector to ensure the long-term sustainability of chemical-processing in the North East of England. During 2020, the team led industry focus groups covering:
We will continue to work hard to support your business and ensure the long term sustainability and growth of North East’s Chemical Processing Sector.
Thank you again for your continued support.
We looking forward to working with you long into the future.