Company provides perfect spaces

CUSTOM-crafted business spaces are helping to nurture a range of new enterprises.

CUSTOM-crafted business spaces are helping to nurture a range of new enterprises. Providing bespoke space and provisions for budding businesses has been the order of the day at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) since 1994.

And as the organisation celebrates its 18th year this month it continues to attract attention from other conscientious businesses keen to grow their operations from the Sunderland site.

David Howell, director of operations at the North East BIC, said: “With over 130 businesses based at the BIC headquarters on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland, the BIC has grown up to be a significant contributor to the local economy, with over 1,000 people employed on the 14-acre site.

“We have always been dedicated to nurturing businesses – working with enterprising individuals to help get new ventures up and running but also existing SMEs offering them a range of support programmes and facilities to help them develop and expand.”

One such business who recently moved into premises at the BIC is the Food Education Company, run by local entrepreneur and TV chef Mark Earnden, who is championing healthier eating in communities, schools and homes.

Initially working Gateshead, Durham and Sunderland local authorities, the company now works with 53 councils and over 5,000 schools not only here in the North East but nationwide.

The business offers demonstration chefs who are trained to educate, inspire and give audiences of all ages the confidence to cook with healthy food.

Another organisation determined to make a difference is the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) who is continuing its work helping to re-shape communities with the launch a new programme focusing on healthy living from their new office at the BIC.

The registered charity set up to support communities facing significant challenges as a result of the demise of the coal industry has invested £33m in the region since it started in 1999 and its latest programme continues this tradition by helping to promote health and fitness opportunities to young people.

Anna Wilkie, healthy lifestyles officer, has been appointed to run the programme and will be delivering physical activity sessions in the area – she will also be working with volunteers to help promote healthy lifestyles. Anna said: “Good health and wellbeing is of key importance in the North East and this project is specifically designed to help improve the way people feel about themselves.

“This will involve creating healthy futures for people by not only looking at fitness but by also up skilling them with self esteem and confidence.”

David added: “The BIC itself was built to help re-generate an area devastated by the closure of traditional industries and I believe it is really important to invest in the health and well being of the local community.

“Likewise I appreciate the importance of working with young people as it is vital to open up opportunities for the next generation.

“Organisations like the Food Education Company and the Coalfield Regeneration Trust are welcome additions to the BIC, and I believe the variety of companies we attract to base themselves onsite is down to our ongoing approach.

As well as the range of incubator units, industrial units, office suites and bio-science labs we offer in terms of accommodation, the BIC has always aimed to provide our tenants with more than this, in the form of ongoing support from a range of experienced business advisers.”

The BIC offers a range of commercial property options with flexible tenancy agreement. Business space across the site ranges from 6000 sq ft industrial units to 150 sq ft small office space to let, perfect for start-up, expanding and well-established businesses.

To arrange a site visit and view the variety of business space available, please call Donna Surtees on 0191 516 6066 or email

I believe the variety of companies we attract is down to our ongoing approach


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