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CPI launches the Enterprise Europe Network for the North East of England

Date TBC: The North East England's hub of the world's largest business and innovation network is being launched today by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in partnership with One NorthEast.

The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) was established during January 2008 by the European Commission to assist businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The regional EEN team will be managed by CPI with the aim of assisting North East businesses to grow their business in Europe and to secure funding for their research and development activities via the EU Framework Programme Seven (FP7) and other major sources such as BERR Grant for R&D.

The Enterprise Europe Network combines and builds on the former Innovation Relay Centres and Euro Info Centres. With a foundation of over 4,000 experienced staff in over 500 teams across Europe and beyond, the new Network is strategically positioned to assist businesses in sourcing new suppliers, finding new business partners, identifying grants, undertaking market analysis and country profiles, finding new technologies, tracking public sector tenders and obtaining relevant information on EU policies, regulations and initiatives.

The EEN innovation service in the North East has been significantly enhanced by the inclusion of a programme of targeted support aimed at assisting companies to shape their research and commercialisation projects, prior to submission to funding agencies. The main focus of this activity will be businesses operating in the sectors underpinning the Regional Economic Strategy including: renewable energy, life sciences, digital and product design and process industries.

FP7 is a seven year EU programme designed to support market-led R&D, connecting businesses and research bases in Europe to engage and overcome technological challenges that are critical to business and economic growth. One of the key aims of the regional EEN team is to assist North East organisations to successfully secure FP7 funding.

Shak Gohir, EEN Practice Director at CPI commented, “Shaping a R&D project to ensure that the wider industrial needs, the potential user and societal needs, likely market value, state-of-the-art, barriers to commercialisation, consortium capabilities and emerging regulations are taken into consideration leads to a well designed FP7 proposition. These are some of the attributes demanded by any market-led R&D programme. We will provide high-tech companies and universities with strategic advice, coaching and hands-on assistance on FP7 applications.”

Tony Ikwue, Head of Innovation & Business Development at One NorthEast said “With 50 billion euros allocated by the EU to FP7, it is Europe's key instrument to fund research and development with commercial potential. This is a vital source of funding for companies in North East England to reduce R&D investment risk and establish new collaborative R&D programmes for strengthening their competitive edge, innovation capabilities and capacity”

Nigel Perry, CEO at CPI, said, “I am delighted that CPI will be managing the EEN. This is an important opportunity for us to make a difference to the North East by providing the advice and support needed for North East companies to take the greatest advantage of the funding and opportunities available from Europe. European funding is a critical element of CPI's strategy and we will be taking full advantage of this service ourselves.”

Focusing on grants and tenders, the 'Connect, Innovate & Grow' event will be hosted by the EEN team, on June 4th at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead to officially launch the network in the North East. The event will be an opportunity to meet the team and learn more about the available services. Guest speakers include Dr Raymond Oliver, Science & Innovation Strategist at Arrow Science Consulting; Dr Bryan Allcock, Managing Director of Monitor Coatings; Dr Amanda McMurray, Three Pillars Fund Manager at NStar Finance; and Nick Mapletoft, Managing Director at Nimis. To register for the event please visit www.een-northeast.co.uk.

For more information on EEN, please contact Gillian Kears, Business Innovation Manager at CPI on 0191 490 9358 or email Gillian.kears@cenamps.com.

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