Sunderland business people will open up about the challenges they’ve overcome and lessons they’ve learned on the road to success in a series of new pop-up events in the city.

Designed by the North East BIC, Growth Lab Sunderland is aimed at helping businesses learn from each other by sharing the experiences of those who’ve found innovative ways to survive and thrive.

The event series is based on a tried and tested format that has proved hugely popular with entrepreneurs in Darlington.

Now, new funding through the BIC’s Enterprising Sunderland project means the approach can be replicated in Wearside, with events popping up in different business venues throughout the year.

The BIC’s Business Adviser and Growth Lab Facilitator Debbie Simpson said: “Businesses told us they loved the honesty and openness of Growth Lab events in Darlington and said they really learned by listening to each other. So, we’re really excited to be able to bring the series to Sunderland.

“We know we have some fantastic businesses here who are doing really smart things to adapt and grow. Even better, they are prepared to share what they’ve learned along the way to help others find ways to adapt, find new opportunities and even grow.

“Many businesses are facing cost of trading challenges at the moment, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to support them. Growth Lab is all about demonstrating that all businesses have potential to work smarter and become stronger – no matter what their size or sector.”

Each Growth Lab event will explore a specific topic or sector relevant to Sunderland businesses. They to aim to be fun, friendly and inclusive, with a panel of business owners opening up about the approaches they’ve taken to tackle common challenges and make positive changes.

Hosted by BIC Business Advisers Debbie Simpson and Paul Lancaster, they’ll also provide attendees with plenty of opportunities to ask questions to get to the heart of what they need to know to improve their own business.

Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development, said: “We are fortunate as a city to be home to so many businesses who are blazing a trail in their respective sectors, from developing innovative new products and services to exporting their wares across the globe, and these events will be a great way of not only celebrating their achievements but also helping others follow in their footsteps.

“It is yet another fantastic example of how the City Council is working closely with the business community to stimulate economic growth, by ensuring the city’s businesses have all of the tools required at their disposal to continue innovating and growing and driving the city forward.”

The first event, ‘How the Perfect Technology Partner Can Supercharge Your Growth’, focuses on the opportunities technology presents businesses to stay competitive, raise investment and solve operational challenges and how these can be maximised, even by companies with little technical know-how.

Taking place at the offices of Asset55 at The Beam, Sunderland, the event will run from 10am to 12pm on Friday, 26th April. It will feature a panel of successful Sunderland technology ‘enablers’ who are harnessing the power of digital as a game changer:

Pete Wilkinson (panel host), Founder and CEO, Reclaro

Sunderland-born Pete is obsessed with helping ambitious companies and business leaders nail their strategy execution using a variety of tools and frameworks of software developer Reclaro.

Paul Bicker, CTO, Asset55

Sunderland-based Asset55 has grown organically to become a leading and trusted provider of Software as a Service (SaaS) technology to the energy market.

Michele Gettins, CMO, iamproperty

As one of the North East’s fastest-growing tech businesses, iamproperty provides an ecosystem of innovative solutions that free estate agents up to do what they do best and accelerate their success.

Claire Jenkins, General Manager, Boldyn Networks

Boldyn Network is working with Sunderland City Council to achieve its global smart city ambition. Claire and her team help businesses understand how they can take advantage of the world-class, leading edge 5G technology that is now available in the Sunderland area.

Growth Lab events are fully-funded by the BIC’s Enterprising Sunderland programme and open to businesses in the Sunderland area. To find out more visit https://www.ne-bic.co.uk/growth-lab-sunderland/

The Growth Lab events from the BIC form part of the Enterprising Sunderland project which has received £1,271,885 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is being overseen by Sunderland City Council.