Our search for the best in Wearside business gets a great backer

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An organisation which encourages Wearside business to flourish is right behind our search for entrepreneurial heroes.

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) is on board as a sponsor of the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards.

We believe that small businesses are not only the lifeblood of our organisation, but that of the whole regional economy. There has never been a better time to celebrate our local entrepreneurs and home grown companies.

Paul McEldon, chief executive of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)

The business support organisation, which employs just over 50 staff members, delivers programmes to stimulate self-employment and enterprise throughout the North East.

Its business solutions have been developed with industry experts and bosses say they are ideal for established businesses which focused on future growth and success.

Chief executive Paul McEldon said: “The BIC has a depth of experience in delivering start up support which has developed over a 22 year period. This has given us a unique insight into what works best for clients within our local communities who wish to go into business.

“Seventy five percent of businesses helped by the BIC remain trading well into their third year, which is higher than the national average. We are home to over 140 businesses from an array of sectors at our Sunderland site alone.

“Last year saw the BIC expand its property portfolio into Washington and Darlington providing fantastic state of the art facilities for businesses throughout the region.”

He said BIC was “delighted to sponsor the Apprentice/Trainer of the Year category at the Portfolio awards” and the organisation was “dedicated to supporting the next generation.”

He added: “We believe that small businesses are not only the lifeblood of our organisation, but that of the whole regional economy. There has never been a better time to celebrate our local entrepreneurs and home grown companies.”

Make it Sunderland is again our headline sponsor, and will sponsor our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.

Make It Sunderland is also backing the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.

Other sponsors are Maxim, Quayside Exchange, K&L Groundworks, UKasl, North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC), Gentoo and Age UK Sunderland, The Bridges, Stagecoach North East, and TTR Barnes.

To nominate, send your name, address and telephone number, the name of the person or business you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

State which category your nomination applies to (from the list of categories) and provide a description of the reasons for your nomination (no more than 300 words).

Post your nomination to: Nicola Meldrum, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA, or email nicola.meldrum@jpress.co.uk or lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk.

Nominations must be received by September 2.