Delivering regeneration since 1994 

November 1, 2017

Chief executive Paul McEldon reflects on the history and development of the North East Business and Innovative Centre (BIC) and how it continues to encourage and support entrepreneurship in the region

Not only does the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) offer high quality managed office space in the North East, it also provides customers with a unique environment to start and grow their business.

Having helped to create more than 7000 jobs across the region since 1994, the North East BIC has developed a range of tailor made services and facilities to meet the needs of thriving businesses in the region. Offering a broad range of commercial property with flexible terms, the space is finished to the highest standard, with tenant packages starting from as little as £49 per week.

A unique approach 

The BIC was established 23 years ago as a not-for-profit organisation to drive entrepreneurial and regeneration activities from the former Austin and Pickersgill shipyard site in Sunderland. With the departure of the region’s heavy industries, there was a real need for new innovative entrepreneurs to kick start our regional economy.

Starting with one small building, we created a sustainable business guided by a proven European model – the Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) accredited framework. The mission of all BICs is to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship through the delivery of a comprehensive range of professional support alongside the provision of high quality business premises.

Support is on offer from our business start-up team who have helped more than 4000 individuals set up in business, while the SME Innovation Programme is stimulating established businesses to develop new products and services, and our programme of events provides ample opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn new skills and get advice on many different topics from how to avoid cybercrime, to mastering social media.

Networking events at all our centres also help to inspire, inform and connect you with other businesses.

Plans are currently underway to introduce a new programme of events and collaborations that will not only offer information, insight and opportunities to our business community, but will broaden our support to those companies wanting to move into new international markets or that seek a ‘soft landing’ into the North East.

Business support, events and a community spirit is at the heart of our unique offer, making us more than just affordable business space. Our businesses span an array of sectors including pharmaceutical and scientific, marketing and design, software and high tech clusters to finance and logistics.

This mix of sectors makes the BIC a diverse and exciting place to do business.

Experienced property managers 

In extending our property portfolio to three sites across the North East, we also demonstrate that our unique model delivers consistent and attractive results for building owners and property managers who are looking for professional business centre management and

outsourcing. Today, we own or manage a total of 240,000 sq ft of managed and serviced office, industrial and laboratory space. We are currently home to 235 companies, ranging from start-ups to established businesses employing from one to 50 people.

As a £3.3m turnover, not-for-profit private business, we now have a sustainable business model, not dependent on public funding, with a proven track record of adapting to changes in our environment and we will undoubtedly continue to evolve in response to future political and economic landscapes.

Our approach and commitment to North East businesses has seen our reputation and space portfolio grow and we are proud of our bustling business community that calls North East BIC home.

North East BIC

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Generations of success