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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP) Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The headline North East employment data includes both the North East LEP and Tees Valley LEP areas and is based on interviews throughout the three months from February to April 2020. More than half of this period was before the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions were put in place, so the data does not reflect the full impact of these restrictions. In addition, the release uses the internationally-agreed definition of employment that includes workers temporarily absent from a job. Furloughed workers and non-working self-employed people with a reasonable expectation of returning to their jobs are therefore classified as employed in today’s data.

“Overall, the data for this quarter indicates that employment was increasing in the North East region in the first part of 2020. It was 36,000 higher than in the previous quarter and at a record level, while unemployment fell by 11,000 and economic inactivity decreased by 24,000.”

Economic inactivity covers a broad group of people not actively seeking work for a wide range of reasons, including full-time study, looking after family and home, disability and ill-health, and retirement.

“As the UK moved into lockdown, the North East was the English region experiencing the largest increase in the employment rate of those aged 16 to 64 and the biggest fall in the adult unemployment rate. Although, this was from a baseline position where the employment rate was still the lowest, and the unemployment rate the highest, among the nine English regions.

“Whilst today’s survey statistics are important and represent an important point of reference for the future recovery of our economy, more recent administrative data also released today shows the impact of the measures being taken in response to COVID-19 on the North East LEP area.

“The number of Universal Credit claimants increased by over 63,000 (51%) between mid-March and mid-May. While this includes both workers and non-workers, today’s ONS estimate of the number of unemployment benefit claimants shows a rise of almost 36,000 (or 66%) over the same period. Although these are huge increases they are, in percentage terms, lower than the increases across England excluding London (where the respective totals increased by 74% and 108%). Further perspective can be drawn from last week’s HMRC data which highlighted that, by the end of May, about 24% of the North East LEP area workforce were furloughed and about 72% of eligible self-employed people had sought Government support. These were similar percentages to the national picture.

“The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), CBI, on behalf of all businesses, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities and the regional universities and transport body have come together to form the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group to provide maximum support for businesses in the immediate term and to plan for long-term economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure the region has strong and collaborative economic leadership as we work through the impacts of the measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus.

“The immediate focus so far has been on supporting businesses to remain operational, to keep people in employment and to work with partners to solve industry challenges. As the Government moves forward the relaxation of controls, the Covid Response Group will begin to implement action to recover the region’s economy and we have published a report on our joint approach this week which can be accessed here.

“By coordinating one response to the current economic crisis, we will use one voice and our collective influence to reassure the North East public and influence Government, and our resources and capacity to deliver crucial interventions.”

The North East Growth Hub is working hard to ensure businesses have access to all the latest information, guidance and support regarding Covid-19. This can be viewed here: https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/covid-19-coronavirus-toolkit

Business are also being asked to complete this short survey to help us understand what support is needed and feed this back to government: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/COVID19_Business_Survey

 

 

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Our Economy 2020 paints a mixed picture of the North East economy’s performance  

Today, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has published the latest edition of Our Economy, an annual publication which examines the performance of the North East economy and how it is changing over time.

This year’s report has also looked in more depth at how the economy varies across different geographic areas within the region.

Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East LEP, explains: “This year, Our Economy is being published at a time of immense change and it provides a baseline showing the performance of the North East economy before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s report provides data and evidence that we and our partners can use to position the North East for recovery, as we work to bring more and better jobs to our region.”

Each year, Our Economy reviews the North East’s performance across a range of indicators. This is the third year that Our Economy has been published and this year’s report paints a mixed picture of the region’s economic performance.

Our Economy shows that the gap between the North East and the rest of England, excluding London, has widened on a number of indicators, including the value of the goods and services produced per head, employment rate and productivity rate.

In contrast, areas of progress include increasing expenditure on R&D by businesses, increasing proportion of our population qualified to degree-level and above, increased employment in science, research, engineering and technology roles, improved access to superfast broadband and 4G, and increased public expenditure on transport.

The evidence provided by Our Economy is used to inform the work of the North East LEP and partners across the region in delivering the North East Strategic Economic Plan – the roadmap for increasing economic growth in the North East.

Victoria Sutherland added: “What we can see in the report suggests that, even before COVID-19 began to impact the North East, there was a need to do more to grow and develop our economy. 

“Going forward, the focus of our efforts must be to ensure that every part of our region is able to contribute to and benefit from efforts to improve the performance of our economy.”

Our Economy is available to download on the North East Data Hub website and a short video summarising the findings can be viewed here.

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New Chair and Board Member help to shape investment in region

Andrew Moffat and Mark Thompson
Andrew Moffat and Mark Thompson

Andrew Moffat CBE has been made Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Investment Board, and the Board has also welcomed a new member, Managing Partner of Ryder Architecture, Mark Thompson.

 

 

 

 

Andrew has been appointed as Chair of the Investment Board having served as a member for the past four years, taking on the role following the departure of former Chair, David Land. Both Andrew and Mark also serve on the main North East LEP Board.

The role of the North East LEP’s Investment Board is to help drive growth within the North East economy by overseeing the delivery of grant and loan funding programmes including the Local Growth Fund, Enterprise Zone investments and the North East Investment Fund.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP, commented: “The Investment Board is made up of five public and private sector members, plus three non-voting specialist advisers. The appointment of Andrew as Chair and Mark as a board member further strengthens the expertise which oversees the delivery of vital investment into strategic projects across our region.”

Andrew Moffat has extensive experience in financial, commercial and strategic roles in a range of international companies. He joined the Port of Tyne as the Finance and Commercial Director in 2007 before being appointed one year later to Chief Executive, a position he held until 2018 and was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2016 for services to the North East economy and UK ports. Andrew was also Chair of the CBI’s Regional Council in the North East and a member of a number of other local partnership boards focused on the delivery of economic regeneration.

Mark Thompson is managing partner of Ryder Architecture, where he is responsible for the strategic development of the highly successful design company with offices across the UK and a growing international portfolio from offices in Hong Kong and Vancouver.

The funding which is overseen by the Investment Board enables the delivery of significant capital and infrastructure projects including for example the regeneration of Sunderland’s former Vaux Brewery site, which will result in high quality office space, leisure facilities, hotel and residential accommodation, the development of a new conference and exhibition centre at Gateshead Quays and the International Advanced Manufacturing park – to name a few

Andrew Moffat said: “As our region looks to the future following the impact of COVID-19, projects like these will help shape our recovery, bringing more and better jobs to the North East.

“The region continues to be an attractive place for investors and the expertise of the Investment Board members, in ensuring that funding is allocated in a way which benefits people in the region, is vital.”

The five members of the North East LEP Investment Board are: Andrew Moffat CBE (Chair); Gillian Hall (Vice Chair); Mark Thompson; Councillor Iain Malcolm (Leader, South Tyneside Council) and Councillor Bruce Pickard (Deputy Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council). The specialist advisers are: Jason Hobbs (CEO of the North East Fund Ltd); David Furness (Senior Director, BNP Paribas) and Ian Richards (Director, Northstar Ventures).

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics – May 2020

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP)  Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The headline North East data includes both the North East LEP and Tees Valley LEP areas. It is based on interviews throughout the three-months from January to March 2020 and uses the internationally-agreed definition of employment that includes workers temporarily absent from a job. Furloughed workers and non-working self-employed people with a reasonable expectation of returning to their jobs are classified as employed in today’s data.

“Most of the data in today’s release relates to a period before the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions were put in place. It provides useful insights into how our labour market was performing through the first quarter of 2020.

“Overall, the data for this quarter was encouraging for the North East region, as employment increased by 28,000 compared to the previous three months, with unemployment falling by 8,000 and economic inactivity decreasing by 19,000. The latter is a broad group of people not actively seeking work for a wide range of reasons, including full-time study, looking after family and home, disability and ill-health, and retirement.

“Over the last quarter, the North East was the English region that had the largest increase in the employment rate of those aged 16 to 64 and the biggest fall in the adult unemployment rate. However, despite these encouraging trends, the employment rate was still the lowest, and the unemployment rate the highest, among the nine English regions.

“Whilst today’s statistics are important, it is clear that the measures being taken in response to COVID-19 are having a significant impact on our economy and that future reports are very likely to tell a different story with respect of our labour market. Today’s DWP benefit statistics give an indication of the scale of the impact, with the number of people on Universal Credit in the North East LEP area increasing by 43,000 (35%) between 12 March and 9 April.”

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), CBI, representing the business community, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities have come together to form the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group to provide maximum support for businesses in the immediate term and to plan for long-term economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure the region has strong and collaborative economic leadership as we work through the impacts of the measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus.

The immediate focus is on supporting businesses to remain operational, to keep people in employment and to work with partners to solve industry challenges, however our Recovery Plan will aim to ensure the economy returns to a positive trajectory in terms of sustainable growth and employment as quickly as possible once the controls on economic activity are lifted

By coordinating one response to the current economic crisis, we will use our collective influence to reassure the North East public, deliver crucial interventions and lobby Government

The North East Growth Hub is working hard to ensure businesses have access to all the latest information, guidance and support regarding Covid-19. This can be viewed here: https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/covid-19-coronavirus-toolkit

Business are also being asked to complete this short survey to help us understand what support is needed and feed this back to government: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/COVID19_Business_Survey

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Contractor sought to develop a mine energy white paper to help accelerate the delivery of mine energy schemes in the UK.

On behalf of the mine energy task force, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), is looking to appoint a contractor to deliver a mine energy white paper, to help accelerate delivery of schemes in the UK.

Here, Andrew Clark, Energy Sector Lead at the North East LEP, gives us the background to the white paper:

If the UK is to achieve its carbon targets, decarbonisation of heat is one of the major challenges which must be overcome. One option is to harvest low carbon heat which is created and stored within the earth, known as geothermal heat. The North East has particular potential for this given its geology, and thanks to the region’s industrial past, a specific opportunity to access it is now being explored – mine energy.

Mine energy involves accessing the now-flooded mine shafts within abandoned coalfields. The water within the mines is geothermally heated, and if it can be extracted from the water this heat can be utilised in nearby homes, businesses or other buildings. The mines could also be used to store energy in the form of heat.

There are various examples of mine energy being used in Europe from community to city-scale, and a number of projects being developed in the North East are leading the way for the UK. Sharing what we are doing in the North East through the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, a network established by Government for LEPs to work collaboratively on energy projects, we identified other regions which were also exploring the potential of mine energy.

Like any relatively new opportunity, there are lots of things to learn from projects as they are developed and delivered. To accelerate this, the North East LEP has brought together a national ‘mine energy task force’, so far a collection of over 30 interested stakeholders from across the country who share expertise, knowledge and experiences.

The task force has identified a need for a piece of work to begin to answer some of the questions it has identified, and to set out the commercial, regulatory, market and policy interventions which are needed nationally if mine energy is to be delivered at scale. The North East LEP is now commissioning this ‘white paper’, to deliver this on behalf of the task force, with the tender now live.

Supported by the task force organisations, wider stakeholders, and by the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, the white paper will present a powerful evidence base, present substantiated recommendations, and help inform policy and delivery for mine energy.

If you are interested in participating in the task force please contact Andrew Clark.

More information on the tender can be found here. The closing date is 28 May 2020.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH…Colin Bell, Business Growth Director of the North East LEP and Ammar Mirza CBE, newly appointed Chair of the North East LEP’s Business Growth Board, talk about their aspirations for the future.

Ammar, you are a North East LEP Board member and the newly appointed Chair of the Business Growth Board. What is your ambition for this role?

The LEP is made up of individuals with significant experience, expertise and endorsement, representing the public, private and academic sectors, all with a shared ambition of making the North East a better place where we create more and better jobs, which is clearly even more important now.

Being the chair of the Business Growth Board is a privilege given the other members of the Board and the enthusiasm of Colin and his team to bring our strategy to fruition.  My ambition is for our work to help our communities realise their goals and raise aspirations, ultimately making a sustainable, meaningful and measurable impact.

Colin – your Business Growth Board has had a bit of a shake up, with Ammar joining as Chair alongside five new people, and a number of long-standing board members supporting a strong executive team. How important it is to have a strong relationship between the board and executive and what are you most excited about for the future?

Having a strong and active board who keep me and my team on their toes, provide constructive challenge, are prepared to be active in supporting and promoting the North East’s business community and who bring ideas to the table is what I look for.

It’s therefore fantastic that Ammar is the new Chair of the Business Growth Board as that’s exactly what he brings. His approach is all about channelling energy, action and being a champion of the North East.

Ammar is supported by some fantastic new Business Growth Board members including Darren Laybourne , Director at Turner and Townsend who brings a wealth of experience in scaling a global business; Liz Bromley, CEO of the Newcastle College Group who runs one of the UK’s largest college businesses; Paul Butler, CEO of North East Automotive Alliance who brings an expertise in in business support and industrial clustering; Yvonne Gale, CEO, NEL Fund Managers, providing a vital insight into the investor community; and Steve Underwood, Director, Dentsu Aegis, one of the UK’s largest digital agencies. This formidable group of business leaders joins our existing board members: Toby Bridges, Chairman, NBT Group; Ryan Maughan, CEO, Avid Technology; and Kate Wickham, CEO, Gate 7.

You’re both at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. How has this manifested into support for the North East business community? 

Ammar: People are understandably confused, concerned and cynical of the future, which in turn demands a response that is relevant, responsive and regionally focused.  The support led by the LEP and supported by a whole host of partners including the SME Centre of Excellence means that SMEs can get the right support at the right time to survive.

Colin: We are speaking with businesses every day to understand the practical challenges that they are facing and feeding intelligence to Government to inform them about what’s needed in terms of support.

At a regional level we are working closely with our partners to introduce initiatives to fill the cracks, such as Crowdfunder North East and the enhanced grant funding for the supply of PPE via Supply Chain North East. We are increasingly looking to the future and are currently working with Ammar and the Business Growth Board to develop a plan of action to support businesses through the restart phase so as many as possible bounce back strongly from the current situation.

The North East Growth Hub has seen a huge increase in businesses engaging with it and is becoming the go-to hub for information relating to not just COVID-19 but all business support and access to finance in the region. What impact is this having and why is it important?

Ammar: Having a single source of credible and up to date information is critical to help individuals access the support they need, especially in challenging times. The Growth Hub has always been a rich resource to help SMEs thrive.  Given the substantial number of service providers that feed into the Growth Hub, together with the Connectors who are able to provide one-to-one support, everyone accessing the service will benefit.

Colin: Businesses want access to simple and impartial support and guidance. The Growth Hub brings all support into one place and does not have any vested interests or targets to refer businesses to particular schemes – we are 100% focused on what’s right for the businesses.

Our highly experienced Growth Hub Connectors are there to have open and honest discussions with business owners. During the crisis they’ve been able to help remove some of the anxiety by helping them to see a path through the confusion and engage them on support and funding options of which they were perhaps unaware.

The North East LEP and the North East Growth Hub have been combining forces with other organisations to deliver support. Why is that partnership approach important?

Ammar: The North East is renowned for being the friendliest place in the country, and never has friendship and partnership been more important.  The LEP has always acted as an enabler, recognising that we must create a community underpinned by a collaborative campaign to develop an effective eco-system that will help our region restart, revive and ultimately thrive.  It is this partnership approach that will help us progress to a better place.

Colin: The Growth Hub is an impartial and trusted broker and we work with businesses to understand challenges and opportunities and then connect them with the people, organisations and solutions that we believe are best for them.

The delivery of support is carried out by our partners who are national and locally based and from the public, private and education sectors. We work closely with our partners through the Business Support Provider Network, which provides a forum to align their collective efforts to the delivery of economic strategy and to inform the development of business support and finance solutions that will deliver the greatest impact to businesses.

What should businesses be thinking about now in terms of recovery and readying for a recession?

Ammar: The three biggest enablers to success for any organisation are digital transformation, innovation and new markets.  These factors are even more critical to the recovery of our economy and that is where the Business Growth Board is focusing all its attention and efforts.  This includes working with the Michigan Institute of Technology Team and key stakeholders to develop an eco-system that gives our whole region a competitive advantage and an accelerated recovery plan.

Every business should be planning and preparing for the future in an innovative, inclusive and industrious manner.  Especially as the North East started the industrial revolution.

Colin: Businesses need to consider what they have learnt through the pandemic that they can use to give their business an edge moving forward. This may be things like honing into new market opportunities, developing new ways of working, harnessing technology and unearthing new capabilities within their teams.

People are pulling together to support one another through the current situation. How can business leaders follow this through into the recovery and harness the fire in people’s bellies, their collective energy, passion and creativity to deliver a better future – it’s by no means going to be easy but it’s our fighting spirit, grit and determination that will help the North East to bounce back.

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North East LEP seeks new Chair for its Board

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is seeking a high profile and influential business person with a connection to the North East as the next Chair of its Board.

The current chair, Andrew Hodgson OBE, plans to step down as soon as a replacement chair is recruited.  Andrew has spent nine years on the Board, working tirelessly on behalf of the region.

The Non-Executive Director position is being advertised nationally and comes with significant public profile, responsibility and accountability to the North East community.

The high-profile business leader will need to demonstrate a clear understanding of the economic challenges faced.

The North East LEP is one of 38 LEPs in the country and sets the economic agenda for the region to promote and develop economic growth across the North East. Its geographic patch covers the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Heidi Mottram, Vice Chair of the North East LEP’s Board and the CEO of Northumbrian Water, said: “Andrew has been a superb Chair since he was appointed in 2016 and has truly been committed to making our area an even better place to live and work.

“During Andrew’s time as Chair we have become respected nationally as one of the leading and most effective LEPs in the country. On behalf of the Board and wider LEP community and partners, I’d like to offer our thanks for his service and wish him success in his next challenge.

“However, Andrew’s departure creates an exciting opportunity for someone equally experienced, well-connected, dynamic and committed to the region to help us achieve our ambitions for the future. We need someone who is prepared to be a visible and an active cheerleader for the North East across the region, the Northern Powerhouse area and the UK – and if that sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you so please do get in touch.”

More information on the role can be found here.

To apply please send your CV and a statement, of no more than two pages, to the North East LEP’s Chief Executive Officer, Helen Golightly at [email protected] . Your statement should include:

  • How you would contribute to the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan and in turn, support the region’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19
  • Examples of how you have influenced strategic decision making
  • Any skills/experience/achievements that may be useful for the role and any particular areas of interest you have.

This vacancy is now closed (as of 12 noon, Monday 8 June 2020).

 

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North East Business Growth Board welcomes five new members

Five new appointments have been made to the Business Growth Board of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), supporting the LEP in achieving its aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs in the North East.

Liz Bromley (Chief Executive of Newcastle College Group); Paul Butler (CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance); Yvonne Gale (CEO of NEL Fund Managers); Darren Laybourn (Director of Construction Management Consultant Turner & Townsend); and Steve Underwood (Managing Partner for Dentsu Aegis) have all joined the Board, which is chaired by entrepreneur Ammar Mirza CBE.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, commented: “The role of every member of the Business Growth Board is to support the North East LEP and its partners to build an ambitious and thriving economy in our region.

“As businesses across the North East begin to look at how they can recover from the impact of COVID-19, the Business Growth Board will play an important part in supporting businesses and helping to secure the long-term economic recovery of our region.”

Ammar Mirza CBE, Chair of the Business Growth Board, said: “The Board is made up of individuals with significant experience, expertise and endorsement, representing the public, private and academic sectors, all with a shared ambition of making the North East a better place where we create more and better jobs, which is clearly even more important now.

“The LEP has always acted as an enabler, recognising that we must create a community underpinned by a collaborative campaign to develop an effective eco-system that will help our region restart, revive and ultimately thrive.  It is this partnership approach that will help us progress to a better place.”

Liz Bromley, Chief Executive of Newcastle College Group, has held a number of senior roles in education, including at the University of Salford and Goldsmiths, University of London. She has also been a board member of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education, the CBI North West and a governor and trustee of the Sir John Brunner Foundation, among many other non-executive roles.

Paul Butler established the North East Automotive Alliance in 2015 and it quickly became the leading automotive cluster in the UK. As a cluster benchmarking expert for the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis, Paul brings insight into business support eco systems from across Europe. Paul has extensive knowledge of the region’s business base, having previously spent 10 years with the North East Process Industry Cluster and has supported the delivery of the UKTI Trade services across the North East. He has also previously run his own publishing business.

Yvonne Gale is CEO of NEL Fund Managers, a North East impact investment firm where she is responsible for its strategic direction and leadership. Yvonne is a finance specialist passionate about improving access to finance for small businesses and enabling economic growth.

Director of Construction Management Consultant Turner & Townsend, Darren Laybourn has more than 32 years’ experience of delivering many of the region’s most complex real estate and infrastructure programmes. The business has circa 7000 people across 115 offices working with clients on the world’s largest projects and programmes.

The fifth new appointment to the Board is Steve Underwood, Managing Partner for Dentsu Aegis, a global marketing services group that employs over 45,000 people across 143 countries, delivering solutions for clients that enable them to succeed in the digital economy.

Colin Bell added: “The Business Growth Board brings together some of the most skilled and ambitious people from our business and academic communities and I’m looking forward to working with our new Board members to support businesses of all shapes and sizes to grow, create new jobs and bring positive changes to communities in our region.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The members of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Business Growth Board are:

  • Ammar Mirza CBE (Chair)
  • Toby Bridges (CEO of the NBT Group Ltd, Chair of The Exchange North Tyneside, Founding Director of Vytech Solutions Ltd)
  • Liz Bromley (Chief Executive, Newcastle College Group)
  • Paul Butler (CEO, North East Automotive Alliance)
  • David Coppock (North East Head of Trade for Department for International Trade)
  • Tom Frater (Policy Team Leader of the Government’s Cities and Local Growth Unit)
  • Yvonne Gale (CEO of NEL Fund Managers)
  • Councillor Peter Jackson (Leader of Northumberland County Council)
  • Darren Laybourn (Director of Construction, Turner & Townsend)
  • Ryan Maughan (Managing Director of AVID Technology Group Ltd)
  • Councillor Graeme Miller (Leader of Sunderland City Council)
  • Jane Robinson (Dean for Engagement and Place at Newcastle University)
  • Steve Underwood (Managing Partner for Dentsu Aegis)
  • Kate Wickham (Managing Director of Gate 7)

 

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Up to £5,000 available in match funding for SMEs via Crowdfund North East LEP

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) makes up to £5,000 in match funding available to any small businesses continuing to trade through Crowdfunder’s Pay it Forward.

  • The COVID19 crisis has forced thousands of small businesses to close their premises.
  • Crowdfunder UK has launched Pay it Forward to enable small businesses to keep trading by pre-selling goods and services.
  • The North East LEP will match pound for pound the money raised by eligible North East small businesses through Pay it Forward, awarding up to £5,000.
  • Crowdfunder has scrapped all platform fees and is covering transaction charges to make the scheme 100% free.

Match funding is to be distributed by the North East LEP to small businesses through Crowdfunder’s small business support scheme Pay it Forward. Small businesses, employing no more than 10 full-time equivalent employees, will be able to secure up to £5,000 in match funding to boost their own crowdfunding efforts.

Pay it Forward provides the infrastructure and coaching for small businesses to

1) pre-sell goods and services,

2) adapt and ‘pivot’ their business into new ways of working and

3) stay connected to their customer base.

There are 45,800 small businesses employing 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees across the North East, many are in urgent need of financial support. The funds released by North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will provide urgent relief for those small businesses most in need and who do not qualify for other Government schemes. The match funding is being sourced from the North East Investment Fund and will total up to £1 million.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive at the North East LEP said: “Despite government’s best efforts, there are still some businesses in our region that are not eligible for government-backed grants or loans, leaving them vulnerable and at increased risk of closure.

“Many are turning to crowdfunding and the goodwill of customers and members of the public to generate some much-needed funds.

“Because of this, we’ve partnered with Crowdfunder to match fund appeals run by North East small businesses to ensure they receive the vital support they need at this time.

“Small businesses contribute significantly to our local economy and will play a key role in our economic recovery too.”

Eligible businesses must generate a minimum 25% of their target from crowdfunding before they can apply for match funding from the North East LEP. If their application is successful, half the grant will be pledged right away, and the other half when they reach their 75% of their fundraising target. Businesses that don’t reach their full crowdfunding target will still receive match funding, up to a total of £5k.

Rob Love, CEO, Crowdfunder said: If you’re a small business whose livelihood has been turned upside down as a result of COVID-19, we are here to help. The power of Pay it Forward is to keep small businesses trading, help them think about their recovery, and to put them in a position to bounce back quickly.

“The continued trading through Pay it Forward, by pre-selling goods and services, ensures businesses can stay connected with their customers and enables entrepreneurs to adapt their offering.

“We are proud to partner with North East LEP to keep small businesses trading, retaining jobs and innovating for a brighter future”

Helen Golightly continued: “There’s been a real momentum around supporting local businesses with people buying gift vouchers and ordering take outs or deliveries to help small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to encourage more people in the North East to support local traders, which is why we’ve promised to match every pound donated through an eligible Crowdfunder appeal, up to a maximum of £5,000.

“With the public’s support, that’s more than 200 small businesses in the North East that will benefit.”

How it works:

  1. Small businesses can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/crowdfund-north-east-lep
  2. Once set-up the small business can pre-sell their goods or services and adapt their offer to engage existing customers and potentially reach new customers as well.
  3. The small business sets a financial target to meet and throughout the process, coaching is provided by Crowdfunder to support the small business to meet their target.
  4. Once the financial target is met, match funding is released from the Crowdfund North East LEP monies.
  5. The total sum of the money is then released to the small business

The North East LEP is leading the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, a partnership that includes the CBI, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities. The group was launched, with the support of industry, to provide maximum support for businesses in the immediate term and plan for long-term economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information about the North East LEP and the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, visit www.northeastlep.co.uk.

 

For more information about Crowdfund North East LEP, visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/crowdfund-north-east-lep

 

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For more information, images or interview requests, please contact [email protected] or call 07948 563 612.

Notes to editors

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

Crowdfund North East LEP may pledge up to 50% of a project target, up to a £5,000 maximum pledge.

A pledge of grant support from the North East LEP will be triggered if:

  • The business has reached 25% of its funding target from crowdfunding
  • At least 10 unique backers have pledged towards your target
  • An application for North East LEP pledge is approved
  • Once 25% of your target is reached, a match funding pledge of 25% (max £2,500) will be made. When the appeal reaches 75%, the second pledge of an additional 25% (max £2,500) will be made.

To access the match funding businesses must:

  • Be a small business with no more than 10 full-time equivalent employees
  • Be a) an existing registered business, charity or b) sole trader operating for at least 12 months
  • Be able to demonstrate the business has been adversely affected by COVID-19
  • Be seeking to raise a minimum of £2,000 (i.e. seeking a minimum match fund contribution of £1,000)
  • Those businesses not eligible for the Small Business Grants Fund or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund will be given priority.

Full eligibility criteria can be found at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/crowdfund-north-east-lep

About Crowdfunder’s small business support scheme, Pay it Forward,

Small businesses fighting for survival can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign to pre-sell their services and diversify trading now to ensure continuous cash flow throughout the crisis. Crowdfunder is covering all platform and transaction fees making it 100% free to small businesses. Over the course of four weeks, £4 million has been raised by small businesses across the UK through Pay it Forward.