A leading supporter of North East businesses has unveiled a bold new vision across the region.

The North East BIC - which has centres at Sunderland, Washington and Darlington - helped hundreds of businesses across the region adjust and adapt during the pandemic and believes a new global business culture, centred on work-life balance and employee wellbeing, will change the way the region’s businesses operate for generations to come.

Underpinned by a new brand identity, the changes will see the BIC revamp its start-up support offering and place a heavier focus on social entrepreneurship, with the introduction of its Innovate for Good programmes and AMIF, a unique project helping refugees harness their skills to set up in business.

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The organisation has also made a commitment to continue investing in wellbeing and wellness by improving its green spaces, embracing and encouraging co-working and hybrid working and developing a Net Zero strategy which includes investing in EV charging points and Pollinator Parks.

Speaking about the changes, Paul McEldon OBE, chief executive of the North East BIC, said: “The pandemic illuminated so many problems with modern day working cultures, such as the aged-old perception that workers must work 9-5 and be glued to their desks, and this has caused a real momentum shift in how organisations the world-over do business.

“The introduction of hybrid working has opened our eyes to life outside of the 9-5, white-collar office routine, and the plethora of benefits it offers means businesses must now focus harder than ever before on their employees if they are to attract and retain the best talent.

“Despite early predictions during the pandemic of workspaces being redundant due to the rise of remote working – we’ve seen demand for our flexible office space hit a 27-year high over the past 12 months.

“One thing is for sure, while the workplace will undoubtedly continue to be a staple of everyday worklife, the way we utilise our workspaces is set to change forever and there is absolutely no reason why this can’t be seen as a huge opportunity for the North East, with its fantastic life opportunities, to turn this into a huge competitive advantage to attract more and better talent than ever before.”

Established in 1994, the North East BIC now operates three – soon to be four – business centres across the region and has helped more than 4,000 entrepreneurs set up in business since it opened its doors.

Central to this success has been its long-standing business start-up and social enterprise programmes, both of which have been revamped alongside its rebrand, to ensure they are fit for the 21st Century as the BIC not only looks to champion the region’s start-up community, but also its enterprising philanthropists.

Paul added: “Over the past few decades our start-up and scale-up programmes have played a key role in not only helping people realise their ambitions of launching their own businesses, but also helping organisations innovate and grow, and this support will play as crucial a role as ever before.

“While there is no hiding from the fact that there will be challenges along the way, the North East has proven over the centuries that it has the mettle to overcome any crisis and if the innovative ideas we saw come to the fore during the pandemic are anything to go by, then I have every faith that our region’s entrepreneurs have the ingenuity required to help us rebuild our economy, and we look forward to playing our part in helping our businesses unlock their potential as we prepare for another quarter of a century in business.”


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