‘Come and showcase your success’ - sponsor’s message to Echo Portfolio Award hopefuls

Paul McEldon, chief executive of the BIC.
Paul McEldon, chief executive of the BIC.

A proud Portfolio Awards backer is on board again - and bosses told of their delight at the rise of social enterprises across Wearside.

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) is sponsoring this year’s Social Enterprise Award.

Like traditional businesses, social enterprises generate income through trade and aim to make a profit. But it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart, reinvesting them to create positive social or environmental change

Paul McEldon

It honours outstanding and innovative social enterprises in Sunderland that are working to make the world a better place.

BIC Chief Executive, Paul McEldon said: “The evidence suggests that social enterprises are playing an increasingly important role in economic growth. Latest government statistics identify around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people.

“They also show a significant increase in the number of start-ups who are choosing the social enterprise approach, acting commercially and reinvesting their profits for their social purpose.

“Social enterprises operate in many different markets, selling goods or services to individuals, local authorities, government or private businesses. There are many examples out there you will have heard of such as The Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project but you may not realise that there are also many social enterprises in Sunderland trying to make it a better place for all, including organisations like the Home Group and last year’s winner of this award, Media Savvy CIC.”

Mr McEldon added: “Like traditional businesses, social enterprises generate income through trade and aim to make a profit. But it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart, reinvesting them to create positive social or environmental change.”

Read more: ResQ backs Echo Portfolio Awards to find best in business

He said the BIC was “committed to providing services to meet the needs of all businesses with the overarching social mission to drive entrepreneurial activity and accelerate innovation.”

The Sunderland-based BIC occupies a 14-acre multi-purpose business park, providing a wide range of accommodation for businesses, from shared co-working spaces to small incubator units, executive offices, bio-science labs and large industrial facilities.

But it’s the access to a wide range of tailored business and innovation support, funding and events that makes it “a unique location to base your business.”

With a growing demand for expert advice in this sector, the BIC recently launched a new service - Social Enterprise at the BIC - which aims to encourage and help those that dream of starting a new social enterprise and support for social enterprises who want to grow and access funding and social investment.

BIC bosses urged social enterprises to come forward and showcase their success by entering the awards.

BIC is yet another of the fantastic backers on board for this year’s awards.

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 Small Business Category of the competition.

BIC is acknowledging the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.

Related content: Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2018 - help us find the best in business

Other sponsors are Northumbrian Water, Gentoo, Stagecoach in Sunderland, The Bid, ResQ, Maxim Brewery, Sunderland College, Creo, Northern Railway, Station Taxis, Bradley Hall, and PG Legal Commercial Solicitors.

We want to hear from the people who make the area tick on the business front but we can only do that if we receive your nominations.

Individuals, businesses themselves – in fact anyone can put forward a nomination for this year’s awards for a company that they feel is deserving of recognition.

There are plenty of well-known categories from previous years such as small, medium and large business of the year, as well as exporter of the year.

Or you might want to enter sections such as apprentice of the year, technology of the year or best green business.

Whatever your choice, make sure you get those entries in so that we can honour the very best that Wearside has to offer.

•Get nominating and let’s make this a year of celebration of the best in Wearside business.

To nominate, post your nominations to Lynn Wild, Sunderland Echo, Alexander House, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le- Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.

Alternatively, you can email lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk.