Innovative businesses across the North of Tyne needed to tackle the region’s key challenges

24 October 2022

Businesses in the North of Tyne area are being encouraged to rise to the challenge and propose innovative solutions for some of the biggest problems facing our economy and community.

Challenge North Tyne is a new programme offering £5,000 in funding to help businesses across North of Tyne prototype solutions to two key regional problems.

Funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and delivered in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Innovation SuperNetwork, Challenge North Tyne aims to speed up efforts to better address the needs of an ageing population and to deliver energy efficient, Net Zero homes using a collaborative approach known as mission-driven innovation.

The challenges have been defined as, supporting people in later life at home, work and play, which focuses on enabling elder citizens to lead happier and more connected lives; and delivering energy efficient, net zero homes, which aims to find solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of current and future homes.

The programme is open to businesses across Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside, and offers successful applicants a place on an accelerator programme designed to enable collaboration. It will connect small and medium sized businesses with proposed solutions to larger organisations operating in the sector, and provide a testbed for innovations and specialist support through the Innovation SuperNetwork.

Sarah Cox, Innovation Challenge Programme Director at Innovation SuperNetwork, said this about the new challenges: “Anyone who has started a business or project knows how hard it is to move forward a new idea in the marketplace. Our programme brings together key organisation​s across the region, including the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the International Centre for Connected Construction to help businesses define where the opportunities are for innovative solutions in response to these two critical challenges.

“By providing the funding, support, and introductions, we are reducing the risk for businesses doing something new and valuable to bring their ideas to market and supporting regional goals for healthier happier communities and more sustainable future homes. The thing that most excites me about the Challenge programme is the prospect of meeting the ambitious business leads who apply to the programme and supporting them on their journey.”

Dr. Jackie Gray, CEO and Founder of The Carents Room, whose business was one of the participants in a past challenge programme, encouraged businesses in the region to get involved. She said: “I can genuinely say that joining the Challenge programme transformed my life and my business for the better. It was hard work, but it was well worth it. The challenge team opened doors that I could not have unlocked, or even considered myself. I would definitely encourage people to get involved with the challenge, it will be good for you and your business.”

Worth over £800,000, this programme will focus on collaboration and cross sector co-design and will see key regional partners, local government, large corporates, community groups and organisations of all sizes come together to achieve impactful solutions in the challenge areas. The project aims to illustrate how mission-led innovation can benefit the region with economic growth, meeting the net-zero agenda and improving the lives of people in the area.

Colin Bell, Business and Sector Growth Director at North East LEP, said this about the project: “We have businesses here which are capable of developing new products and services which could help tackle some of the major issues the world is facing right now. This challenge programme will support our most innovative minds and help businesses to test, iterate and bring new developments to market, with support from key partners in our region.”

Interested businesses are encouraged to register early before a final application deadline of the 24th of November. Businesses can register their interest and find more information here.


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