Bridging the Gap – An event focussed on bridging the skills gap within ambitious North East SMEs

13 October 2022, 08:00 - 10:30

Bridging the Gap

08:00 – 10:30 on Thursday, 13th October 2022
The Business Clinic at Northumbria University, 97 New Bridge Street, NE1 2SW


NEL Fund Managers has partnered with Northumbria University Business Clinic, North East Ambition and Sunderland Software City to bring you this event focussed on bridging the skills gap within ambitious North East businesses and enabling them to put unparalleled growth plans into action.

The event will highlight the fully-funded opportunities available to North East SMEs and provide live examples of businesses who have benefitted from these programmes, both of which have been developed to enable businesses to exceed the plans they could put in place with existing resources.


  • Introduction to the Business Clinic and an overview of the consultancy services it can offer to help your business increase its competitiveness and put growth plans into action
  • Live Case Study examples of inspiring Business Clinic projects
  • Outline of the North East Ambition programme and a look into how it could help you to spot the skills gaps within your business and then either re-train your existing team or bring in new talent
  • Outline of Sunderland Software City’s new business support offer surrounding Digital Talent Acquisition and how this can help you to recruit top tech talent into your business
  • Summary of funding available to enable businesses to monetise their new skill sets and project ideas
  • Q&A

The programmes

Northumbria University Business Clinic works with a range of businesses every year from all sectors, shapes and sizes to scale up, and matches final year undergraduate and masters students from the Business School to work on a consultancy basis to solve a diverse range of business problems and issues. These include feasibility studies, marketing strategies, HR and recruitment/retention strategies, finance and investment, logistics, international and tourism. Students are supervised by experienced tutors to produce a high-quality professional report.

North East Ambition is a programme of free support for SMEs based in the North East of England. Part funded by the European Social Fund, the programme aims to provide businesses with the support they need to be able to either re-train their staff or take up new recruits through a variety of government-supported schemes, such as apprenticeships, traineeships, and internships. Each business that engages in the programme will be supported by a dedicated Skills Facilitator, who will work with the business to determine their specific requirements and develop a bespoke plan to support them in addressing current and future skills gaps.

Sunderland Software City’s new business support offer aims to address the varying recruitment challenges spread across the digital sector, awarding 12 hours of fully funded consultancy support to SMEs in the North East, who are hoping to attract digital talent into their organisation. The organisation and our partners, which include recruitment experts Talentheads, possess a wealth of knowledge surrounding business growth and talent acquisition. We will work with you to provide bespoke support, culminating in the delivery of a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy aligned to your business; helping you to recruit, retain and scale with ease.

NEL Fund Managers is an employee owned fund management company, committed to strengthening our local economy by providing tailored funding solutions and business support to small and medium-sized businesses right across the North East of England. NEL manages two investment funds which can offer unsecured loan funding of £5,000 up to £500,000 to enable the growth of North East SMEs

This training is open to small businesses based in County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear and is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund. You will be asked to complete some paperwork to meet the funding eligibility criterion and evidence the support you have received.


Register here

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