Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hi-Tech Business Gets a Cash Boost; Investment in Sunderland Is Welcomed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hi-Tech Business Gets a Cash Boost; Investment in Sunderland Is Welcomed

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wood

Apounds 2.1m investment was announced for Sunderland last night which will help create dozens of new hi-tech businesses.

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) in the city has won the investment from regional development agency One North East to help boost Sunderland Software City.

The initiative is aimed at developing knowledge and infrastructure in the region to create and grow software businesses and attract investment.

And it is hoped the new cash announced last night will create 70 new businesses.

The project is being part financed by the European Union's ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, securing pounds 855,000 ERDF investment to add to pounds 1.25m through Solutions for Business, the Government's portfolio of publicly funded business support to help companies start and grow. The

BIC's contribution to the initiative is focusing on enterprise, and growth for the development of new software products.

Its latest investment will be used for the provision of support for software entrepreneurs, mentoring, finance, facilities and services.

It will provide dedicated premises for new and growing software companies to co-ordinate and bring together a mix of skills.

BIC chief executive, Paul McEldon, said: "We recognise that the software sector is a competitive market and we need effective marketing and business support for enterprise to reflect this.

"We also want to stimulate more interest in innovation and technology and raise the aspirations of young people in disadvantaged areas to work in the software sector. Our dedicated software incubator will utilise 360 square metres of space to let, providing up to eight separate units as well as communal areas. Businesses locating there will also have access to all of our training and meeting facilities." One North East head of European and skills strategy Lesley Calder, said: "The BIC has an enviable track record as the birthplace and home of hundreds of businesses.

"They know how to support businesses in a range of sectors, but in particular those which are innovative and need the right technical environment. …

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