Keynote speakers lead jobs drive

Sir John Hall
Sir John Hall

TWO leading industrialists from the Hartlepool area will spearhead a new North-East jobs drive.

Sir John Hall and James Robson, two of the area’s high-profile business figures, spoke as plans were unveiled for a new campaign which aims to bring in 1,000 new jobs and £40m of extra business in the next three years.

The new campaign, Business Acceleration for SMEs (BASME) will aim to help 400 regional firms to identify sales opportunities.

It will also help them to get new products and services to market more quicker and to promote their products to potential international suppliers.

The scheme already has £1.5m of backing from industry and its founders have pledged to deliver £40m of extra sales each year.

They have also promised to create 1,000 new jobs in three years.

To get the scheme under way, 60 leading industrials were meeting over two days this week to discuss the ways they can offer mentoring support to business. One of their meetings will be with Sir John at Wynyard Hall where he will tell them how they can help individual companies to gain new business and grow.

Sir John said: “It is only business that can create wealth and growing local businesses is the only way that a region can improve the economic outlook for its people.

“I am pleased to support this BASME programme because it is led by local business people and it is all about experienced local businesses helping smaller businesses find new sales and new markets to enable them to grow into the future. “

Mr Robson is the business development and finance director of Exwold Technology, based in Brenda Road, which makes granular products for markets such as household and garden pesticides.

He has been chosen to lead the BASME drive to bring in international sales. Mr Robson said: “We have real commitment from local business leaders to assist local SME business growth.

“Many of us want to put as much as we can back into the community and this a great way for successful business leaders to put in our knowledge and expertise to improve the sales of local businesses.”

The programme has been launched by the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).

Its chairman, Paul Booth, said: “The process sector depends on a strong local SME based supply chain, a feature which is also important to demonstrate to the world that we can continue to support large scale industrial developments.

“Big companies, particularly manufacturing units, no longer do everything in house and much is outsourced.

“A strong and capable cluster is vital to the future of the process sector and the only way that we will attract future large scale investment.”