Cooperation is key to improving business in the North East

NECC director of policy Ross Smith.
NECC director of policy Ross Smith.
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The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) is teaming up with some of the region’s leading businesses to boost networking and co-operation.

The chamber joined forces with Bond Dickinson, BT, Gateshead College and Virgin Money to launch its “Connecting for innovation: A view from North East business” report at Teesside University’s Darlington Campus.

The report offers a series of recommendations to help refine the way businesses are assisted to improve competitiveness and produce sector or society changing inventions, including: better networks; improved support agencies; simpler and increased funding; and reconsidering what is meant by ‘innovation.’

NECC Director of Policy Ross Smith said: “The North East has a proud history of innovation but by no means is this just a part of the region’s past. We support the current innovation strategies being pursued by the LEPs and we hope this report will offer a useful intervention for policy makers.

“Our region displays great assets for innovation and has already shown areas of strength within energy, low carbon vehicles and aging. Many NECC members are already producing world-leading innovations in these areas. However, potential is there for hundreds more to play a part in making the North East a real innovation hub.

“We believe enhancing our focus on these issues will ensure the maximum number of businesses can contribute and benefit, but it is up to many organisations, including NECC, to foster innovation within our economy.”

The report comes after a recent study by the Enterprise Research Centre placed Tees Valley as the overall top performing local enterprise partnership (LEP) area in the North of England for innovation, while the North East was the North’s best for new to market innovation. The North East LEP was also the first to appoint an Innovation Director to drive the issue forward.