The BASME Story


As NEPIC’s Business Acceleration Programme for SME’s – or BASME as it fondly became known – drew to a close, the results spoke for themselves. Its success not only highlighted the region’s significant supply chain capability but also why such activity will remain at the fore of NEPIC’s work going forward.

With the objective of strengthening the North East region’s supply chain, BASME has acted a gateway for SMEs by providing them with the opportunity to gain access to and engage with established manufacturers within the Process Industry.

As opposed to offering generic business advice, the BASME programme has focused on connectivity – achieved by using a distinct 1-2-1 mentoring approach which has matched participating SMEs with a selection of influential senior people from the regional Process Industries and key academics.

Based on the results of a successful pilot scheme trialled back in 2010, NEPIC found that industry mentoring was the best way to facilitate cluster development, securing longevity to the region’s Process Industry and strengthening the supply chain.

Hundreds of 1-2-1 meetings with mentors, who have decades of experience of the industry, have helped SMEs understand and respond to the needs of the industry, which has increased their likelihood of successful future sales.

The combination of networking and specialist BASME themed workshops has stimulated collaboration by encouraging businesses to share best practice with one another.

The benefits of establishing a strong Process Sector Supply Chain in the region have provided local companies with the incentive to develop their businesses, which in turn has brought economic benefits and reinforced the North East as a region of excellence and innovation.

The BASME programme – as a minimum – has illustrated that the sharing of best practice between large manufacturers and SMEs, a practice common amongst clusters in the EU, can work in the UK too and result in benefits for both parties and the wider economy.

How it all worked


Following a successful pilot programme in 2011, during which NEPIC mentored 16 SMEs, we

  • generated £3.4 million of new sales
  • created 87 jobs
  • the Cluster went onto receive £1.5 million from the Regional Growth Fund to deliver the programme on a far larger scale.

NEPIC was tasked to successfully mentor 400 North East SMEs over 36 months, during which time we would create 1,000 new jobs and generate £40 million in sales.

  • 424 SMEs mentored in total
  • 1,011 jobs created or safeguarded
  • £50 million of new sales created
  • 424 companies sign up to the programme and engage in industry mentoring
  • 272 SMEs attended 45 programme events and coaching workshops
  • Collectively participating SMEs received 686.5 days of business growth support via event attendance
  • 60 industry leaders offered business mentoring in 2012 valued at £1.4 million
  • By project end, this figure reached 190 with in-kind contributions totalling £3 million
  • Growth Value Added per annum for the region £50 million equalling a 31 times return on investment

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