Business support organisation, the North East BIC has expanded its advisory team as it bids to help more enterprises in the face of increasing economic challenges.

Sunderland-based BIC has appointed three new specialists, growing its team of business and social enterprise advisers to 15. The team’s combined experience is an invaluable resource provided through a number of projects assisting hundreds of business owners.

BIC chief executive Paul McEldon OBE says: “Now, more than ever, it is essential that business owners can access the skills and expertise which are critical to every organisation’s prosperity.

“Our advisers are experienced in every stage of business development, from concept to start-up, through scale-up, growth and the issues faced at every stage.”

The three new advisers – Anneline Dowell, Hina Joshi, and Mark Walsh – are working with small businesses and social enterprises.

Hina reports that as the cost of living crisis bites, more people are looking for ways to supplement their income with their own small enterprise, often from home. “Since the pandemic there are more people exploring the option of self-employment alongside their job,” she says. “They seek a better work-life balance or additional income, and a large proportion are managing their day job at the same time. I’ve worked in business support for more than 25 years, including a period when I was both self-employed as a consultant alongside being employed, so I know all about the balance required in juggling the two.”

Mark, who set up his own social enterprise, Lighthouse Therapy, with BIC support three years ago, joins the team as a social enterprise adviser helping people who are providing much-needed services for their local communities.

He says: “I think the growth in social enterprise, particularly in Sunderland, is a response to growing need – and who better to make a difference locally than local people? It’s incredibly inspiring to work with people who are in business for good; people who know that if we are going to make meaningful change it has to come from the community.”

Anneline also brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the team from her former roles as a business adviser, estates and facilities manager, charity secretary and charity fundraiser, all of which are indispensable to the small enterprises she helps.

Paul added: “The people we help tell us that the experience and expertise of advisers like Anneline, Hina, Mark and the other members of our business advice team are vitally important – a rich resource key to the prosperity of SMEs in every sector. We’re privileged to provide it, and to make your business our business.”