AN initiative to create 1,000 process sector and supply chain jobs has been brought forward due to strong demand.
A pilot programme with 20 SMEs by Nepic, the North East Process Industry Cluster, garnered £3.3m in new business and 28 jobs from local industry.
Now Nepic wants to create 1,000 jobs and has brought forward the launch date for its larger-scale Business Accelerator (BASME) programme, after a swathe of SMEs came forward to use the service.
The programme, backed by a £1.5m injection from the Regional Growth Fund, will open doors for local SMEs that have not previously sold to the process industries.
Stan Higgins, chief executive of Nepic, said: “This is the best supported programme we’ve had.
“The key thing is to strengthen the local supply chain.
“We thought we’d expand the programme over three years, and we expected around 400 over that time.
“We have had 70 SMEs in the last three months alone. We’re hoping to find companies that have never sold their products and services to the process industries, and also help companies already supplying to the sector.”
“People are realising that the best business advice doesn’t lie behind one door alone, you have to go to industry experts to gain industry insight.”