Oct 01 2014

‘Sparking’ Innovation in North East Businesses, 15 Oct


Innovation is essential to the long-term future of any business. Its benefits are far-reaching – from developing new markets, to new ways of working, to improvements to existing products and services, innovative businesses are more profitable and more sustainable.

Whilst a good business leader can spot opportunities for product or service innovation, the likelihood of them seeing that opportunity through to fruition is slim because turning ideas into profitable outcomes can be extremely difficult.

NEPIC’s Business Acceleration for SMEs scheme (BASME) is addressing this issue directly with a free one-day conference on 15th October at the Marriott Hotel in Gateshead.

The ‘Innovating to Get Noticed’ conference aims to encourage more SMEs to innovate by raising awareness of the different routes available, such as open innovation or crowd-sourcing innovation, which are perhaps more accessible to SMEs.

Delegates looking for extra guidance will be able to access special one-to-one advice sessions with support organisations that can help them to set their plans in motion.

This year’s impressive line-up includes Roy Sandbach, Innovation Advisor to NE-LEP, Jon Dean, KTP Advisor to Innovate UK, Niall Head-Rapson, Director at McDaniel & Co, Moira Hopkins, Enterprise Europe Network Project Manager at Newcastle Science City, Steve Plaskitt & Alastair Wilson, Partners at Tait Walker, and Merlin Goldman, Lead Technologist in High Value Manufacturing at Innovate UK.

Louise Geekie, Project Manager at Croft Additive Manufacturing will share her experience as an SME successfully using product innovation to boost business growth. She’ll discuss how a recent grant funding from Innovate UK Launchpad is helping to support the firm’s innovation programme, which uses metal 3D printing to promote industrial adoption of metal and UK manufacturing.

Jo York, Co-founder of the ambitious Newcastle-based start-up ReframedTV, will discuss how she used innovation to create a new service – and how that has resulted in a partnership with Twitter and work with high profile clients such as Channel 4 News, London Live and BBC.

Philip Aldridge, BASME Project Manager, said: “There are a lot of innovative SMEs in the region and it’s important that they have a platform to share best practice and help to inspire the wider SME community. A free event like this is the perfect vehicle for both sides to do so successfully.”

Roy Sandbach, Innovation Advisor to NE-LEP said: “This is a great initiative from NEPIC and I am very happy to support it. Companies of all sizes, including SMEs, must embrace innovation for growth. The world doesn’t stand still and innovation drives competitiveness, market share, the opportunity for premium pricing and diversification. Innovation might seem a risky and time-consuming enterprise for SMEs but there is valuable expert help out there for them, both in terms of practice and funding. NEPIC is clearly playing its part, especially through this initiative and by creating vibrant networks, vital in today’s open innovation world.”

To book your free place or to find out more about the day please visit

or contact Philip Aldridge, BASME Programme Project Manager at