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New grants launched to support North East SMEs

March 30, 2020

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A new set of grants are available for SMEs looking to drive innovation in the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) area.

The grants will cover up to 40 per cent of a project up to the value of £3,000 and will support SMEs looking to develop new products or services. Applications are sought from those who have a strong understanding of a problem or gap in their industry and an outline approach of how to solve it.

To support businesses through the current challenges surrounding Covid-19, there will also be a programme of webinars and virtual meetings in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Innovation SuperNetwork. These will focus on three main strands – sourcing finance and resilience, business innovation and staying connected – more details will be announced soon.

The grants are part of the GX Project, a legacy of the Great Exhibition of the North designed to support innovations and collaborations among North East SMEs. To be eligible, businesses must be a registered company, employ no more than 250 staff and have an annual turnover of less than £44m.

Initially a two-year business innovation programme, the GX Project awarded a total of 26 grants in 2019 and will now run until the end of 2020.

The scheme focuses on supporting companies operating in one of regional smart specialisation sectors and areas of opportunities. These are: passenger vehicle manufacture; subsea and offshore energy; life sciences and health; creative, digital, software and technology-based services; health innovation; business information modelling and immersive technologies.

The GX Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative working in partnership with the Innovation SuperNetwork.

For further information on the grants and information on how to apply please visit or email

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