Christmas Message 2016

I am sure, like me, you are all looking forward to the Christmas break.Looking back over 2016, it’s certainly been a dramatic year, with a great deal of change and a few surprises. Following the vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s election win, many businesses are now facing a period of uncertainty until we fully understand the consequences and the opportunities presented to us.

So, there are uncertain times ahead, but here at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) I am confident that like all businesses, we will strive to embrace change and continue to find new opportunities for growth and as someone said ‘uncertainty is the only certainty’. As an organisation, we are using this as the impetus to reconnect with our vision, to improve on what we are doing well and to explore new areas for development.

And on that note, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved in recent months. We are delighted to have exceeded all targets for occupancy across all of our three business centres, Sunderland, Business Central Darlington and The Hub Washington, with occupancy rates the highest for the last 5 years.This year too, plans have also been announced for an expansion at The Hub in response to the continuing demand for serviced office space in the Washington area.

Building on our values to support enterprise and stimulate growth, we have continued this year to offer an increasing range of events, surgeries and networking activities as part of the growing portfolio of tailored business support aimed at start-ups and growing businesses. These have included advice on raising cash, marketing, social media and winning sales. A big thank you goes out to our partners without whom we could not offer these services.

We were also fortunate this year to have secured and launched two new grant funds: the SME Innovation Programme and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. Our membership and BIC accreditation through the European Business Network (EBN) continues to drive our internationalisation services, helping the BIC to provide overseas companies a ‘soft landing’ in the north east and to support our home businesses as they internationalise. A theme which will be occupying many business leaders as they step into 2017. I look forward to the future with optimism. Enjoy the festive break and my very best wishes for a successful 2017.

Paul McEldon | Chief Executive

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