Making Connections

The Innovation SuperNetwork

Use our connections to strengthen your business. We bring people together to generate fresh ideas, new market opportunities, knowledge and money. Together North East England is rising to the challenge.

What we do

North East England is home to some impressive businesses and incredible talent.

We’re finding ways to pool all of this knowledge, these resources and networks to make us all even stronger.

 Our sole purpose is to make connections to benefit businesses in the area. To create opportunities for those Eureka moments. To create the space for fresh ideas to be explored and boundaries to be pushed. To make the introductions that lead to those crucial deals.

How do we do this?

We are using our unique position and overview of the region to make exciting things happen and new collaborations possible. We are the first network of this kind in the UK.

The Innovation SuperNetwork is improving the way:

Innovation is understood and undertaken within regional businesses

Our annual conference Venturefest North East is dedicated to lifting the lid on innovation and presenting businesses with endless opportunities to explore. We continue this support year-round on the North East Growth Hub.

Businesses rise to innovation challenges

Our Innovation Challenge programme provides a central place to highlight the big issues currently facing large corporates, the public sector and society at large. Here businesses and entrepreneurs can consider if they have the technology, services and talent to provide solutions to address these challenges.

Finance is raised

Our FinanceCamp programme makes it easier and speedier for businesses to get hold of the money they need to grow.

Innovation support organisations help businesses

We provide a year-round programme of seminars to share leading-edge innovation support practice amongst a broad range of public and private sector support agencies.

Cluster and network groups work together

We’re joining up the networks that already exist within specific sectors, membership organisations and disciplines to create new opportunities.

The region promotes its ability to innovate to the rest of the world

Our wealth of success stories, our regional work with Invest North East England and close connections with national bodies help us to amplify the message that this region is a hotbed for innovation

Our current projects
VentureFest North East

The region's innovation conference

VentureFest North East

VentureFest North East is all about bringing people together to create new business opportunities and make exciting things happen. It’s a day in the business calendar that’s dedicated to helping you explore new opportunities, collaborations and challenges.

Learn more
Innovation Challenge

Connecting needs and solutions

Now live!

Innovation Challenge

What are the big issues facing large corporates, the public sector and society at large? Does your business have the technology, talent or services to provide solutions? Could the challenges below be turned into commercial opportunities for your business? If you think the answer could be yes, we’ll help you to do just that.

Learn more

Bringing together finance and business


FinanceCamp makes it easier and speedier for businesses to get hold of the money they need to grow. We bring together businesses with bright ideas with lenders who want to lend and investors who want to invest.

Learn more
Who we are

We’re a diverse and dynamic team brought together because of a common goal – to improve the economic future of North East England.

Our work is developed by our Steering Group of prominent members of the business support community and shaped by the businesses themselves via our Design Group.

Everything we do is driven by the needs of regional businesses.

Everything we deliver is designed to make an impact.

Our Steering Group comprises:

  • Alan Welby, Innovation Director, North East LEP
  • Steph Morris, Regional Manager at Innovate UK
  • Dawn Dunn, Business Development Manager, North East Finance
  • Paul McEldon, Chief Executive, North East BIC
  • Simon Green, CEO, Innovation SuperNetwork
  • Estelle Blanks, Executive Director, Innovation SuperNetwork

The programme is delivered by a highly experienced team of innovation and communication professionals, based in Sunderland and serving the whole region.

The Innovation SuperNetwork is part of the North East LEP’s ambitious Innovation Strategy focused on Open Innovation and Smart Specialisation and led by the Innovation Leadership Board.


Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BICReece Innovation and ENGIE with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.