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New programme opens gateway to automotive sector for North East SMEs

Created on Thursday, 27th May 2021

New programme opens gateway to automotive sector for North East SMEs

SMEs hoping to break into the automotive sector can now tap into new support, thanks to an initiative from Supply Chain North East.

Next month, Supply Chain North East will be running its second Back to Business Basics Marketing For Automotive Programme, after the success of the first programme, which took place in the spring.

The marketing programme is fully funded for eligible SMEs and is delivered by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) through Northumberland-based B2B marketing specialist Horizon Works.

The Back to Business Basics Marketing For Automotive Programme will help companies to understand the fundamental tools and techniques for successfully promoting, selling and distributing a product or service in the automotive sector.

Delegates will be able access training on marketing strategy – which will include guidance on marketing research, planning and choosing the right marketing channels – and learn about ‘marketing essentials’, such as brand building, PR and digital content, to help them raise their profiles and generate leads.

As well as having the opportunity to expand their knowledge through a webinar series, SMEs will also benefit from bespoke marketing support from Horizon Works’ marketing specialists.

Supply Chain North East’s Back to Business Basics initiative is offering a series of funded programmes covering areas including sales and marketing, business strategy, business resilience and wellbeing.

Supply Chain North East is delivered across the region by RTC North, Generator, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC). It has brought together these four key partners to work with over 800 businesses through to 2021, supporting them to identify opportunities in new and existing markets.

Eight SMEs participated in the first Back to Business Basics Marketing For Automotive Programme, including companies working across 3D printing, electric vehicles, IT support and logistics.

Programme participant Marco Massi, owner of 3D printing specialist MakeitQuick, said: “The business support provided by the NEAA is second to none. Thanks to the collaboration with Horizon Works we have been able to expand our client database and increase our revenue in just a few weeks.

“In a time of turmoil, fractures and uncertainty, it is refreshing to be part of a network that puts the needs of the small business community before the profit line.”

Sarah Wharrier, regional sales director of business and office technology provider CMYK – which participated in the first programme – said: “Working with Horizon Works on the Back to Business Basics programme has been instrumental for CMYK in helping us to shape our marketing strategy.

“The whole Back to Business Basics project delivery has been fantastic from start to finish and CMYK wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this programme, alongside Horizon Works, to other businesses needing help with their marketing strategies.

“They are a great team to work with and their knowledge and expertise is second to none.”

Michael Wood, director & operational excellence specialist at Lean Deployment Solutions, who also participated in the programme, added: “I snapped up the chance to take part in the Back to Business Basics programme.

“The webinars brought a very structured approach to identifying and prioritising opportunities and developing an overall marketing strategy.

“I found the programme very well-tailored to my business needs, especially through the bespoke support which ran alongside the webinars. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to improve on their marketing, whether they are new to marketing or have experience and need to improve.”

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The Back to Business Basics programme can offer SMEs an integrated approach to reassessing the foundations of their business and the expert advice and insight on how to create a structure that facilitates and sustains growth during both prosperous and challenging times.

“After running a number of cohorts, including the Marketing for Automotive Programme, I am delighted to hear such fantastic feedback from delegates, which supports why we felt it was so important to put this programme together. Thank you to Horizon Works who have done a fantastic job of delivering the Marketing for Automotive programme, which has provided delegates with valuable and practical advice that can be implemented into their businesses going forward.

“I would encourage other SMEs in the NELEP region to come forward and take advantage of our next cohort in June.”

Samantha Vassallo, managing director of Horizon Works, added: “We were delighted to have been asked to deliver the Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme, and it’s fantastic to be working with the NEAA and supporting so many innovative SMEs.

“We’re looking forward to working with a new cohort of participants in June.”

Supply Chain North East is a multimillion programme aimed at revolutionising the way SMEs diversify their offering and embrace new markets. The programme has received more than £3 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Supply Chain North East is an integral part of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, that has a vision to create 100,000 more and better jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Horizon Works, which is based at Northumberland Business Park near Cramlington, supports innovators in complex industries and offers a wide range of integrated marketing services across strategy, PR, design and digital.

The Back to Business Basics Marketing For Automotive Programme will start on June 15 with a webinar on Automotive Marketing Strategy. This will be followed by a webinar on Marketing Essentials on June 22.

To find out more and to register, visit or email [email protected]