Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Start-Ups Thrive with Support

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Start-Ups Thrive with Support

Article excerpt

A growing number of people are taking the plunge to become their own boss. And many are turning to the North-East Business & Innovation Centre ( a support agency for the whole region ( for expert help.

A staggering 21 new potential start-up clients a week either call into or ring the BIC looking for professional guidance.

Of these, the BIC helps more than 250 new businesses each year to get off the ground and has an average of 1,200 clients on their books at any given time.

Shirley Hermiston is business support manager at the BIC complex at Sunderland Enterprise Park, off Wessington Way.

She heads up a core team of business advisors with expertise in everything from marketing and finance to general business and training. Her team is bolstered by an additional sub-contracted team of dedicated specialists in the law, retail management, manufacturing, telesales, quality, IT, operations management, procurement and tendering.

Shirley said: "We get referrals from Business Link and the JobCentre, but about 60pc are word of mouth, from friends of existing clients. This is testimony to the quality of service we are delivering.

"We receive inquiries from people wanting to set up a vast range of businesses ( from hairdressers and beauty salons to hi-tech IT and scientific operations. In fact I can't think of a sector we haven't worked in, and what makes our advice so apt is that most of our business advisors have first hand experience in management or business ownership themselves."

She added: "The type of new business we are attracting are either pre-starts who are thinking of going into business, or early traders who perhaps have set up a month ago and suddenly realise there are a lot of gaps in their knowledge of the practicalities of running a business. For these it's often a case of fire-fighting. …

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