We’re recruiting!

Innovation Manager

Based in Sunderland and working across the North East of England
Full time, permanent contract
£35,000 per year plus pension

The Innovation SuperNetwork is a unique regional programme, helping to cultivate a stronger innovation eco-system in the North East of England and support innovative businesses. The programme works through a partnership of around 50 organisations, including the North East LEP, Innovate UK, local universities and colleges, innovation support organisations and private businesses. The SuperNetwork is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The SuperNetwork includes:

  • High profile events to raise aspiration and innovation expertise amongst regional businesses;
  • An active access to finance programme to connect regional businesses with investors;
  • Coordination work to link up businesses with sources of expertise and support;
  • An open innovation programme, connecting regional businesses with innovation challenges posed by larger businesses and the public sector.

This role is focused on the final point above. Larger organisations in the public and private sector have access to much bigger markets than local businesses can target on their own. These larger organisations are now beginning to develop open innovation challenges, innovation competitions, accelerators and corporate venture programmes to engage with innovative start-ups and small businesses who can bring in new ideas for products and services. However, the larger organisations are not always successful in engaging innovative small businesses and North East businesses are not well represented within these programmes.

In response to this, we have designed a programme that connects North East businesses with larger organisations, both from the public and private sectors. By introducing suitable, selected regional businesses to corporate open innovation programmes, we will increase the number of such businesses working on large-scale innovation projects. This will lead to economic growth in the North East.

We already have one experienced Innovation Manager working on this strand and we would like to grow the team further. The Innovation Managers are tasked with identifying suitable open innovation challenges that fit with regional strengths. They then liaise with partners to find the North East businesses most relevant to the challenge and support the development of a response. This may involve bringing together multiple organisations into a single response, with the political and commercial skill that such situations require.

In addition, the Innovation Manager will be expected to take an active role as required in other aspects of our projects, such as our high profile events programme.

The ideal person must have a strong understanding of innovation practice from first-hand experience. They must be able to spot opportunities for projects and be able to bring together consortia to target opportunities. Strong communication skills are essential, ideally with knowledge of how innovation projects can be structured and financed. Finally, there is an element of relationship selling within the roles and some experience of sales or account management would be useful.

If this is you, the first step is to forward your CV to simon@supernetwork.org.uk by 31st March. Interviews are planned for mid-April.

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