Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Julia's Cheese Initiative Given a Lift-Off Boost; SME Development

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Julia's Cheese Initiative Given a Lift-Off Boost; SME Development

Article excerpt

BEFORE the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) opened its doors in 1994, the site was derelict, having been the location of the former Austin and Pickersgill shipyard. It was a fitting space for a new business development which aimed to heal some of the wounds felt by the devastating decline of the North East's heavy industries.

As well as regenerating what was a constant visual reminder of what had been lost on a major approach into Sunderland, the BIC developed something which, 14 years ago, was a unique approach to supporting entrepreneurs and young companies keen to expand.

Since 1994, the BIC has become a regional centre of enterprise, helping more than 4,000 budding entrepreneurs realise their dreams, creating thousands of jobs and constantly providing a home for a flow of hundreds of SMEs.

On the eve of the organisation's 15th anniversary, John Anderson CBE, chairman of the North East BIC, explained: "As a not-for-profit business and technical support organisation our aim in 1994 - as it is now - was to support the development of an innovation and enterprise culture in the North East."

One of the many entrepreneurs who has benefited is Julia Cammiss from Durham.

With start-up support from the North East BIC, Julie has started Durham Cow Cheese Company, a business which she has developed over the last three years, now catching the attention of chefs at some of the North East's most exclusive restaurants and hotels.

Julia said: "The trick was to begin thinking in a 21st Century way. Farmers would have been the only people who could do this in the past, but that wasn't the case anymore. I needed to put a new spin on an old product."

Armed initially with nothing but a good idea, Julia set off on a path which has since seen her embark on a cheese-making course with the UK's experts, as well as converting the family garage into a custom-made workspace complete with a cheese vat. …

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