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industry news

21 Oct 2016


Industry body, NEPIC, has yet again secured funding to help small-medium sized businesses become established suppliers to the region’s chemical-processing industry.

Following a successful European Development fund bid via the North East LEP, NEPIC will continue its work in helping SMEs access this vital sector through a unique industry mentoring approach.

The newly launched SME Growth programme is a direct spin-off from the Cluster’s hugely successful Business Acceleration for SMEs programme that mentored 420 businesses in £50 million of new sales and generated over 1,000 jobs.

SME Growth will, however, focus purely on companies based in Durham, Tyneside, Wearside and Northumberland and provide direct access to a strong team of industry mentors, along with all important sales and marketing workshops and energy management support.

Programme manager and industry specialist, Philip Aldridge, commented:

“Industry’s message is loud and clear. They want to buy locally from a strong regional supply chain that can support a growing sector long into the future – and they are prepared to put the leg work in to achieve it. Through their support of this programme they offer invaluable knowledge and advice, coupled with direct access to an established network.

He continued:

“The model is simple, yet highly effectively. We work with companies to understand their business and offering. An access approach is agreed and industry mentors assigned. Once in place, companies then work with their mentors and the team at NEPIC to develop everything from positioning and pitch right through to product positioning and placement. Companies also gain access to the Cluster’s established network of businesses and likeminded contacts.

Philip concluded:

“There are no catches. This is a fully funded programme designed to arm local supplies with the skills, approach and contacts that will enable them to play a strong role the success of the sector and ultimately help them achieve business growth.

“We urge businesses to get in touch today, find out more and tap into this vital free support.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, said:

“The North East LEP’s role is to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan to ensure the ongoing growth of the region and a key part of this is ensuring businesses can access the appropriate skills and have a strong supply chain around them.

“NEPIC’s SME Growth Programme is completely focused on building local supply chains within the chemical-processing industry, an area in which the North East has an excellent reputation. This latest round of funding is testament to the success of the work carried out so far.”

The programme, which is supported by 170 industrialists from across the region, is a fully funded ERDF scheme, matched by industry and will support eligible SMEs from 2016-2018 inclusive.



NEPIC, the North East Process Industry Cluster, is a membership organisation that represents the broad range of inter-related chemistry using industries in North East England. The Cluster works with its member companies to provide a more collaborative environment and ultimately support the long-term sustainable growth of the sector.

This is a globally significant region for the process industry as there are more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these sectors, generating £26 billion of annual sales, who employ 190,000 people and export £12 billion each year. This is the Northeast’s largest industrial sector and vital to the future of the Northeast economy.

The Cluster’s activities and interactions include: investment growth; skills & education; innovation; communications & marketing; supply chain development; improved connectivity; SME participation growth & increased international awareness.
About SME Growth
SME Growth is a free service available to growth-orientated Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland-based businesses employing less than 250 staff and with an annual turnover no greater than £40m per annum.

Supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the NEPIC SME Growth programme will support eligible SMEs throughout 2016 – 2018 inclusive.

For more information visit or contact Louise Gwynne-Jones, PR & Communications Manager, via or call 01642 442569 / 07808 029 967


European Regional Development Fund
The project is receiving up to £479,503 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

For more information visit

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© Copyright. North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) 2015