Knowledge – the key to business success

January 3, 2020

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, tells North East Times about the borough’s latest initiative to equip businesses with the knowledge they need to thrive

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Just like any business, we should always be thinking, within our own operations, what can we do to support our workforce to advance, innovate and thrive.

Since 2010, South Tyneside has experienced strong economic growth of 12 per cent. There has been significant growth over the last five years in the borough’s number of businesses. This has risen by 40 per cent compared to 24 per cent regionally and 29 per cent nationally.

With over £1 billion invested in the borough’s regeneration since 2010 – and future development taking place – South Tyneside’s economy is diversifying rapidly. Once heavily associated with key industries including shipbuilding and coal mining, South Tyneside is now home to a diverse range of leading international and regional businesses as well as hundreds of ambitious entrepreneurs and growing SMEs making their mark within the region, the UK and beyond.

Supporting businesses is what we do every day. Celebrating and inspiring businesses across the borough is essential to ensuring continued growth, innovation and diversification for the future.

That’s why I’m delighted to be launching South Tyneside Business Week 2020. A week-long programme of free, insightful events and practical workshops, running from Monday, February 10 until Friday, February 14, 2020.

We are inviting businesses from across the borough and the wider North East to gain vital insights from industry leaders and key players from the region’s business community. To celebrate our diverse range of successful organisations, we have also invited local business leaders to share their stories and experience in business, to inspire and advise.

No matter what stage businesses are at – new or established, large or small – they will take away something from the varied programme of events. A range of in-depth workshops, engaging networking events and topical sessions will offer specialist advice and tips on everything from going global to digitalisation and marketing. Businesses can take away and put into practice what they learn at South Tyneside Business Week.

Local and regional partners – including, North East Growth Hub, Advanced Manufacturing Forum, RTC North, North East Chamber of Commerce, Port of Tyne, and Finance North East – will also be on hand to share knowledge and advice throughout the week.

During South Tyneside Business Week we will also take a look at the borough’s carbon-neutral future. We have a moral responsibility to meet these challenges head-on and it’s vital that we collaborate with businesses to create a greener, more sustainable future for South Tyneside.

South Tyneside Business Week would not be possible without the generous support of our partners, and through collaboration with our extensive range of business support organisations and high calibre speakers, I’d like to thank them all. With their help, South Tyneside Business Week will celebrate our fantastic business community and stimulate its growth in 2020 and beyond.

I hope you will be able to take full advantage of the many opportunities to make connections, build relationships and be inspired by other successful businesses.

South Tyneside Business Week 2020 Programme

Monday, February 10
South Tyneside Business Week 2020 Launch and Exhibition

Hear from known and loved North East brands Barbour and Greggs, and local investor, entrepreneur and mentor Neil Stephenson, who each will share inspiring stories of doing business from the region. Find out about business support and finance available to help your business to grow and prosper from regional organisations including North East Local Enterprise Partnership, NEL Fund Managers, Mentoring for Growth, North East Fund and the Federation of Small Business at the exhibition taking place throughout the afternoon. Lunch included.

Scale Up North East Panel Session

A panel of experts considers the difference between scaling and growth, discussing challenges and opportunities for scaling businesses in the North East. Attendees will hear from companies that have benefited from scaling their business and discuss the hurdles and setbacks encountered and support they received to overcome these. Delivered by RTC North.

Tuesday, February 11 Design
Thinking for Your Business

Angela MacOscar, head of innovation at Northumbrian Water, will open this session on Design Thinking. Angela will show how innovation is business as usual across the water company, using the creativity of its employees as well as working with partners and other organisations to support and develop innovative ideas. RTC North’s innovation specialist Nick Devitt will deliver a practical workshop using the Design Thinking process to help attendees understand the needs of their customers to find creative solutions and support the achievement of their business goals.

Grow Your Business Internationally

A practical workshop delivered by trade experts from the Department for International Trade and the Enterprise Europe Network. This comprehensive introduction to exporting will include the benefits of selling products or service overseas, a look at the barriers to overcome, best practice and the support available from DIT.

Wednesday, February 12
Winning Work with South Tyneside Council

An opportunity to find out more about South Tyneside Council’s procurement plans for the next 12 months, including a practical session on getting the most out of the NEPO Portal. Hear from Garry Stone, NEPO Business Club and B2B North Ltd on Social Value – developing your social value offer when tendering.

Advanced Manufacturing Forum

The monthly meeting will include a panel discussion on the new political and economic landscape and the effects on local business.

Thursday, February 13
Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting

Protecting Your Business from Cyber Crime A practical workshop delivered by Northumbria Police’s Regional Cyber Crime Unit on how to best protect your business from cyber-crime including a live hack.

Value Proposition Development/Value Profiling Workshop

Value profiling is a way for companies to identify and test what makes their business attractive to customers and develop ideas and concepts for additional or brand new products or services. Innovation specialist, David Boath will equip delegates with the tools to apply value profiling in their own businesses to enter into new markets or invest in new product development.

How to Dominate Social Media

This afternoon will feature some of region’s top digital and tech talent. From the use of artificial intelligence in marketing to practical tips on how to dominate social media. Attendees will leave with the skills to create a social media plan that creates optimal engagement and not just impressions. There will be top tips on how to create inspiring audio and visual content, as the brand new Content Suite at One Trinity Green is formally opened. This fully equipped Content Studio will be a place to ‘plug-in and play’, housing the latest podcasting equipment, studio lighting and a video camera tripod, businesses can use the space to create content in an agile, user-friendly way.

Tech Talk: Life App North

Entrepreneurs, developers, freelancers, tech enthusiasts, students, hobbyists – whatever your interest in technology Tech Talks is for you. This popular series of events returns with a stellar line-up of tech experts from the North East to discuss all things app. The panel hosted by Ian Farrar (Far North Limited), includes Dylan McKee (co-founder & CEO, Nebula Labs Limited); Radu Oprea (co-founder at Direct Software & Epic Works) and Mark Hemmings (chief technical officer, Fit Guru’s/Gym Plan). For those not familiar, Mark and his colleagues recently shot to fame as their fitness app was named Apple’s App of the Day.

Friday, February 14

#LoveSouthTyneside is a campaign aimed at promoting and celebrating social action across South Tyneside. Anyone can #LoveSouthTyneside, from volunteers to businesses and everyone between. Businesses are invited to this Valentine’s Day event, which will include a mix of presentations and film to inspire you to contribute to South Tyneside life – from talking the place up as a great place to do business, to taking an active role in improving the environment or helping good causes that improve the lives of people in South Tyneside.

How to Grow Your Business in a Challenging Economy

Do you want to learn more about how to grow your business in challenging times? Dr Jo North, technology and transformation leader at Port of Tyne, will help you to future proof your business in 2020, discover fresh ideas and turn innovative thinking into commercial reality. You will learn how to identify the growth potential in your business, innovate for competitive advantage and growth, capture and prioritise your ideas, work smarter on your ideas, and make them happen when you’re super-busy.

Invest South Tyneside
For further information and bookings, visit

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