North East launches £800k innovation project to tackle region’s problems

Businesses across Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside have been asked to help the region tackle some of the biggest problems facing our economy and community with the launch of an £800K innovation project.

Challenge North Tyne seeks to generate innovative responses to problems in three key areas. It builds on the North East LEP’s work with Challenge North East, which helped bring about solutions in the face of Covid-19.

Launched at the Innovation Conference, run by VentreFest North East, the project is funded through the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Investment Fund and delivered by the North East LEP in partnership with Innovation SuperNetwork.

Alan Welby, innovation director at the North East LEP, said: “People often think innovation is something only big businesses can do, but that’s simply not the case. Our region’s SME community is constantly creating new ways of doing things, of problem solving and we want to harness that creativity to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing the growth of our economy.

“We’re seeking new and innovative ways to address the climate change emergency, and reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings and workplaces.

“We also want to work with SMEs to explore how we can embed 5G within all areas of our economy and harness the opportunities it provides for increased productivity and connectivity. And we also want to look at how we can help the older population across North of Tyne live longer, happier and healthier lives.

“Innovation has a huge role to play in solving societal issues and our businesses have the entrepreneurial nature and collaborative spirit to respond to the challenge – something which was clearly demonstrated during the first phase of our Challenge North East project.”

Sarah Cox, programme director at Innovation SuperNetwork, said: “Globally, nationally and regionally, we’re faced with increasingly complex problems. Mission-led innovation helps us to focus on the challenges we face as a society, and where we have the potential to have the biggest positive impact. Our aim is to bring the right people together to help drive change.

“This programme is designed to build on what we achieved through Challenge North East to scope three more challenges where solutions could have real impact regionally. We’re urging any businesses who feel they could help shape these problems, or would like to get involved with developing solutions, to register their interest.”

Dr Jackie Gray, who took part in Challenge North East last year with The Carents Room, added: “I’d encourage other entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses who could have the skills, experience or ideas to help solve these problems, to get involved. You won’t regret it and could gain a lot in return!”

Credit: Bdaily

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