We're Putting Knowledge at Your Service

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tracey Bransby

Research by Service Network reveals that there are 9,250 North-East professional service companies employing some 51,800 people. These include legal, construction and engineering, e-business, financial, human resources, management consultancy, marketing and research services.

These represented 22pc of all new VAT registrations in the North-East between 1991 and 2000 and employment increased within the sector during this period by 17pc.

Given the size of the North-East economy, however, the picture does not appear so positive.

In terms of jobs growth in business services over the same period, the North-East went through the slowest growth rate in Britain.

Jobs grew by 17pc in the North-East, compared to 24pc in Wales, 49pc in Yorkshire and Humber - and 86pc in the South-East.

Increasingly, knowledge will become the prime source of competitive advantage for regions. So the relative weakness of the North-East service sector is cause for concern. There is a need to increase performance and profitability, improve the survival rate of businesses and increase new business formation.

The Service Network research proved to regional development agency One NorthEast that the sector was worth supporting as a business cluster in its own right. For this reason it has become a key stakeholder in Service Network and its work to accelerate the growth of the North-East professional and business service sector.

Service Network is a not-for-profit organisation with a membership of 160 professional business and service sector firms.

Its role is to raise awareness of the importance of the professional and business services, increase inter-trading, increase trade outside the region and the amount of local sourcing of professional business services and to facilitate greater collaboration and co-operation in the sector.

We are a making a wide variety of packages available, including financial assistance, training packages and strategic planning assistance. …