A great Euro result

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AN organisation which represents dozens of Hartlepool and East Durham firms has clinched a European first.

The North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) has become an accredited cluster management team, under the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI).

But the award carries more significance because NEPIC has become the UK’s first organisation to win the acclaim.

NEPIC chief executive Dr Stan Higgins said: “This achievement puts NEPIC in a really good position to collaborate even further with our colleagues across Europe and bring further best practice and innovative solutions to the process industries in the UK.”

NEPIC chairman Paul Booth said the accreditation would bolster member confidence.

He added: “A third party audit such as this with a successful outcome demonstrates that we have developed a very credible organisation in our region.

“Cluster members will be comforted to know that they are dealing with a competent organisation that has the skills and capabilities to not only represent their interests, but with NEPIC’s continued support, can deliver value to our businesses and the region’s economy.”

NEPIC represents more than 500 chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, energy and renewables businesses and their support companies across the North East.

They generate more than £10bn of sales and are 30 per cent of the region’s industrial base. Firms within the cluster employ about 35,000 people directly and impact on a further 200,000 supply chain jobs.

The cluster co-ordinates around £5m of activity each year for the industry in the region and has achieved around £1bn in gross added value to the UK economy.