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New delegate scheme energises business links for SMEs

Three North East businesses attending the NOF Energy Annual Conference, Energy: A Balanced Future (Thursday 13 March) are the first to benefit from a new scheme providing fully funded delegate places to key industry conferences taking place in the region.

Delivered by NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, the Delegate Placement Scheme is supported by European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) to engage with a minimum of 40 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the next two years. The project provides places at conferences relevant to three target sectors - offshore and marine energy; creative and digital; and science and healthcare.  

Contract Design (Northern) Ltd, Hippo Creative Solutions Ltd and Mi-Case Ltd have all secured a place at the annual conference for NOF Energy, which takes place at Hilton Newcastle Gateshead. Paul Szomoru, Head of Business Tourism for the Convention Bureau at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with NOF Energy to support these three local companies all of which have ambition to grow their business in the offshore marine and energy sector.  

“The Delegate Placement Scheme is all about providing opportunities for North East businesses to access expertise and knowledge to develop and grow in the three sectors that we are actively targeting in our business tourism and inward investment work. The scheme sets us apart from other destinations, to attract major conferences, and show organisers that we’re committed to helping make their events in the region a success, whilst supporting local SMEs.”  

Mi-Case, based in North Tyneside’s Cobalt Business Park, produces the Mi-Case Upstream suite of software solutions specifically designed to provide practical data insight for businesses working in offshore oil and gas.  

Anthony McMenzie, Business Development Manager at Mi-Case is attending the conference as part of the scheme, he said: “Attending NOF Energy’s Annual Conference is a brilliant opportunity for us to update our understanding of the offshore energy sector, to raise our profile to businesses that could benefit from the solutions and services we provide and to develop leads to grow our client base nationally and internationally.  

“As a small business, it’s a huge support to have secured a place at the conference via the Delegate Placement Scheme. It’s important for us to develop our knowledge and skills, so to achieve this without the financial outlay will allow us to maximise our budgets and take advantage of additional business development opportunities.”     

Energy: A Balanced Future is a leading energy conference and exhibition that looks at hot topics within the sector and highlights new future opportunities for the supply chain.  Organised by NOF Energy it is now in its fourth year and continues to thrive. Joanne Leng MBE, Deputy Chief Executive at NOF Energy, said: “All of our work is focussed on supporting our members to make new connections and grow their business nationally and internationally. We’re excited to work with NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau to support these local businesses and introduce them to the NOF Energy network of members and international companies operating in the energy industry.”  

The Convention Bureau is currently taking applications from SMEs in the Creative and Digital field for places onto Thinking Digital 2014 and Game Horizon. To apply for funded places at a conference through the Delegate Placement Scheme, applicants must meet the following criteria:
·         Must be an SME – defined as under 250 employees with a turnover of under £50m.
·         Must be based in the North East.
·         Must operate within the following sectors:
o   Creative and Digital
o   Offshore and Marine
o   Life Sciences
·         Applicants must be applying for a conference that is taking place in NewcastleGateshead.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s Inward Investment team works to attract national and international companies to locate and expand into the area focusing on the three target industry sectors. Its business growth service supports existing NewcastleGateshead businesses to encourage reinvestment and deliver private sector led growth.  

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has aligned its proactive activity with this strategy to attract high-profile conferences that act as a ‘shop window’ to potential investors. The Bureau’s successful conference ambassador programme works with academics and professionals to attract world-leading meetings, contributing an estimated £72.7m to the local economy since it was established by the Bureau in 2002.    

The Convention Bureau is part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, a public private partnership which is funded by Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council and 170 private sector partners from across North East England. NewcastleGateshead Initiative markets NewcastleGateshead on a national and international stage; its mission is to inspire people to visit, and to live, learn, work and invest here. The focus of all activity is economic growth; the organisation works to change perceptions and create positive profile in order to attract visitors, major conferences and events, students, new investment and jobs.

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