Network Diversity: Innovation through conversation with Jeni Smith of NetKno
11 Apr 2022
06 May 2022
I’m passionate about Net Zero and the North East region, so my role enables me to combine both passions. I want the North East to be the lead region for Net Zero transition and I have the pleasure of working alongside some of the best thought leaders in this space. I’ve also enjoyed supporting our regional SMEs to develop new solutions to global energy challenges and promoting the wider regional energy offer for the North East, spanning across heat, power and transport sectors.
A typical day involves dropping daughter off at nursery, an occasional walk or run then plan for the day / week. On a typical day I can engage with local government, regional SMEs internal staff or investment bodies looking to identify the next successful SME. As with any role it comes with usual admin and I try to prioritise this first thing or last thing in the evening to ensure I can focus on more interesting elements of my workload (who likes admin!!!!)
The greatest enjoyment I get is from adding value to regional SMEs and seeing them grow. I genuinely feel I’ve made an impact in the sector and I often receive rewarding feedback from those I’ve been able to assist. Type of assistance can be simply helping make regional connections through to reviewing their business strategy and feeding back on ways to drive growth. I’ve also allocated approximately £200,000 to help regional SMEs develop new innovations for net zero, some of these are now fully developed and generating significant revenues which is great to see.
I enjoy running, the flexibility of working from home means I can drop my daughter off at nursery and go for a run or walk before starting work. I find it clears the head and enables me to organise my thoughts before starting the day. My wife keeps asking me to try yoga so I might venture into that sometime too. Not getting any younger so need to flex the body a bit more I guess!!
Through the North East Energy Catalyst we have identified £285m of priority projects, some of which we have secured funding for but my drive this year is to really push on with securing more investment / funding for the region. I’ve enjoyed seeing the team at ISN grow from strength-to-strength and it is great to be working with colleagues such as Sarah Cox, Alison Freer and of course Estelle Blanks who is really driving the team forward. Personally, my daughter Dorothy turns two and the end May and she’s really flourishing, my wife and I are getting so much fun out of her and I’m excited to see her continue her development. She’s amazing! I mean the wife too of course (better say that!!)
To learn more about the opportunities available to North East businesses innovating in energy or looking to enter the market, get in touch with David Lynch, he will be happy to help!
Register your details and one of our team will be in touch with you shortly.