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Supply Chain North East: The North East’s Thriving Sectors – The Landscape Explained

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February 10, 2021

Webinar | Via Zoom |

11:00 am - 1:30 pm


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The North East of England is home to thriving industry clusters. We have the largest single cluster of process, chemicals, and energy companies anywhere in the UK; we are globally renown as a centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing and home to one of the fasting growing digital and creative sectors anywhere in the country.

For decades, supply chain businesses have successfully delivered vital services and innovative product solutions directly into these key sectors – supporting one another’s growth whilst ensuring that the value and expertise is retained in the North East. However, as we slowly emerge from the global pandemic of 2020 and seek to get back to business, it is critical that we stay a breath of the changes that these sectors have seen and ensure that we as businesses are primed and ready to react when the latest opportunities present themselves. 

Join us at 11am on Wednesday 10 February 2021 to hear from the North East’s trade associations leaders representing the chemical processing, automotive and digital sectors. Guests will gain insight into the trends, challenges, and opportunities of the region’s key industry sectors.

The purpose of the event is to enhance your sectorial knowledge by providing the insights and understanding needed to empower you to diversify your offering, expand your customer base and unlock untapped opportunities in new markets.

Target audience: Businesses from across the North East that currently supply, or are seeking to diversity, into these key sectors and are looking to increase their knowledge and understanding of the landscape and opportunities.

Our expert speakers include:

  • Philip Aldridge, Chief Executive Officer, North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC)
  • Paul Butler, Chief Executive Officer, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA)
  • Hannah Matterson, Chief Executive Officer, Generator

This event is brought to you by Supply Chain North East

About Supply Chain North East

Supply Chain North East brings together four key partners to work with over 800 businesses through to 2021, supporting them to identify opportunities in new and existing markets. An integral part of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, that has a vision to create 100,000 more and better jobs between 2014 and 2024. , Supply Chain North East is delivered across the region by RTC North, Generator, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).

Supply Chain North East is a multimillion programme aimed at revolutionising the way SMEs diversify their offering and embrace new markets. The programme has received more than £3m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020

This event is open to:

  • Supply Chain North East Programme Participants
  • SME’s based in the NE-LEP region
  • Members of NEPIC, NEAA and Generator/Digital Union

Introducing your expert speakers

Chemical Processing Industries

The North East is home to the largest single cluster of process, chemicals and energy companies anywhere in the UK, and the second largest in the whole of Europe. Together the multinational companies, that call the North East their home, 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.

They are the industry of industries, employing 39,000 people locally. Tens of thousands of jobs within the region’s downstream chemical-using industries – including healthcare, electronics, automotive and textiles – rely on its continued success too.

NEPIC, the North East Process Industry Cluster, represents this vital sector. Established in 2005, we work to ensure industry thrives in our region – and that there are investments, innovations and a collaborative network that will create jobs and opportunities long into the future. Fifteen years on, NEPIC have developed a network of hundreds of member companies who work together to do business, showcase best practice, tackle challenges – and ultimately help one another grow and retain value within the region.

NEPIC is headed up by CEO, Philip Aldridge. Before being appointed Chief Executive in April 2018, Philip worked with NEPIC for 6 years helping deliver ERDF projects, and serving its pharmaceutical members. Prior to his time with the Cluster, Philip held roles at the Centre of Excellence in Life Sciences and technical management positions within GSK in the UK and US. With extensive pharmaceutical process development and manufacturing experience in the fields of antibiotics and biopharmaceuticals, Philip holds a first degree in Biochemistry, a masters in Biochemical Engineering and is a member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.


The automotive sector is entering unprecedented times in terms of the technology in the vehicles produced and how they are manufactured. This presents major challenges and significant opportunities for the North East automotive sector. The North East is globally renown as a centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing. In recent years however, the region has also established significant capabilities in batteries, power electronics and electric motors.

Hear from Paul Butler, CEO at the North East Automotive Alliance, as he provides an insight into the current automotive landscape and its value to the UK economy, and how we must capitalise on these strengths to ensure the region is at the forefront of the UK Government’s strategy to ensure the technologies of tomorrow are designed, developed and manufactured in the UK.

Paul Butler became CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance – which supports the growth and competitiveness of the sector in the region – in March 2015 and has established it as the largest automotive cluster in the UK. Paul is also the only UK based Cluster Benchmarking Expert for the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis, who are mandated by the EU to support the creation of more world-class clusters across the EU.

Digital, Creative & Tech

Digital Union, powered by Generator, relaunched in November 2020 as a free membership collective for the North East’s creative digital talent. Our goal is to strengthen and promote the North East’s Digital Creative sector to the rest of the UK as a thriving community, attracting talent nationwide and raising the profile of businesses in this space.

We unite talent, from young graduates to experienced professionals, with Creative Digital businesses across the region, forming a varied network of individuals of all backgrounds and expertise. By taking a ground-up approach, we can support and empower the next generation of creatives, entrepreneurs and professionals to grow the Creative Digital industries to new heights.

By acting as a catalyst for collaboration and co-creation, we can match people to incredible opportunities, ideas and innovation right here in the North East. From taking your first steps as a graphic designer, to harnessing new talent as a CEO, we’re here to support you.

Generator CEO Hannah Matterson was appointed as the new CEO of Generator in February after predecessor Jim Mawdsley stepped down. Hannah brings a wealth of experience across the digital, music and creative economy to her role, including working at Sage Gateshead, on Sunderland 2021 – Sunderland’s bid to become the UK city of Culture – Sunderland Culture and MAC Trust, where she focused on partnership development.



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