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Universities support North East’s economic recovery: Northumbria University secures funding to support SMEs and graduate start-ups

Universities have a vital role to play in helping the North East economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The work being delivered by North East universities is supporting new and existing businesses to innovate and grow, and shaping and supporting a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University are all members of the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, which was established by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to provide business resilience and ensure a collective response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the North East economy.

Below is a case study from Northumbria University about the funding it has secured through the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support 2 (NEBS2) to enhance the competitiveness and growth of SMEs, and support the creation of new graduate enterprises.

The £1.9m Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support 2 (NEBS2) offers a package of financial support and expert advice to SMEs and graduate start-ups, thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The project also includes a financial contribution to help small businesses employ up to two graduates, typically on 6-month internships programmes.

With ERDF funding, the support will run until June 2023 and is available to businesses in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

The aim is to provide a coherent package of services to enhance the competitiveness and growth of SMEs, and to support the creation of new graduate enterprises. Businesses that are looking at ways to respond more effectively to the challenges of COVID-19, or recruit highly talented student interns, are also encouraged to apply.

NEBS2 follows the success of a previous project, which ran from 2015 to 2018 and benefited more than 150 businesses in the region. Overall, this latest project is expected to support 230 new and existing SMEs and provide internship opportunities to 120 graduates.

The three strands of the project are based on part-financing internships to help SMEs grow and provide long-term employment opportunities for graduates, mentoring support for new graduate enterprises, and free expert advice and guidance for businesses provided by leading academics at Northumbria.

To find out more about please contact [email protected].

Click here to read more about how universities in the region are playing a central role in supporting the region to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to read more about the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group.