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North East LEP appoints Growth Hub Connectors to help region’s businesses grow

Businesses in the North East will benefit from expert advice and guidance on how to access support to grow their company following the appointment of two Growth Hub Connectors at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Ken Arnold and Karl McCracken will connect business support, and finance and funding providers with businesses in the region in a bid to boost the local economy and create more and better jobs.

This enhances the North East Growth Hub – the region’s online business support platform, by adding experienced, hands on support.

Ken Arnold, Growth Hub Connector at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The North East Growth Hub is a fantastic place for businesses to access information, advice and guidance on how to grow their business.

“As Growth Hub Connectors, it will be our job to identify the help firms really need, and connect them to the business support providers, initiatives and resources that can help them on their journey.

“What form that help takes will be unique for each business; from access to finance and funding, to recruitment and training. By understanding the business needs, we can match companies with providers or recommend programmes delivered by the North East LEP that can help them grow.”

The North East Growth Hub has successfully helped thousands of businesses to get business support advice and access vital finance and funding, both through the growth hub portal itself and the associated helpline, web chat and e-mail facilities

Part of the North East LEP’s business growth strategy to make the region a place where businesses invest, grow and prosper to create more and better jobs. The introduction of new Growth Hub Connectors aims to build more direct engagement between businesses and support providers.

Karl McCracken, Growth Hub Connector at the North East Local Enterprise Company, said: “Both Ken and I have experience of running businesses and understanding the links between different areas of a business. So we can help owners and senior managers identify their business needs and make sure they access the right kind of support.

“It’s our job to really get under the skin of a company and understand what help they need to grow. There’s so much support available to businesses in the region but that can make it hard for business owners to find the support that’s right for them. We’ll be helping bridge that gap, with impartial and transparent advice to bring businesses and providers together.”

Prior to joining the North East LEP, Ken worked as a Senior Knowledge Manager at the Business and Enterprise Group supporting the work of the Business Support Helpline and Growth Hubs across the North of England. He has also provided freelance management and business support advice to organisations including the North East Business and Innovation Centre and Raytec.

Karl has run a number of businesses including a manufacturing consultancy and copywriting business. An experienced business coach, Karl worked for Enterprise Agency, Go Wansbeck, before joining the third sector where he worked for sustainable transport charity Sustrans and North East charity, Recyke y’bike.

To speak to the Connectors, call 0191 338 7468 or visit the North East Growth Hub at