Support programme to power SME growth in the automotive sector


Support programme to power SME growth in the automotive sector

11th November 2021

North East SMEs can take their next steps into entering the automotive sector, thanks to an initiative from Supply Chain North East.

On November 30, Supply Chain North East will launch its third Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme, after the success of the previous programmes, which took place in the spring and summer this year.

The marketing programme is fully funded for eligible SMEs and is delivered by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) through 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.

The programme will start with an interactive workshop on November 30. This will help SMEs to understand their current marketing positions, define their sales and marketing objectives, identify and understand the most suitable marketing tools and tactics for the automotive industry, and guide participants through creating a marketing campaign.

Delegates will be able to learn about ‘marketing essentials’, such as brand building, PR and digital content, to help them raise their profiles in the automotive sector and generate leads.

In addition, SMEs on the programme will also benefit from bespoke one to one marketing support from Horizon Works’ marketing specialists. This can include marketing reviews and tailored recommendations, planning and help in creating social media content, case studies, public relations and marketing assets.

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 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 in the North East LEP region, supporting them to identify opportunities in new and existing markets.

Seventeen SMEs have already participated in the Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme, including companies working across electric vehicles, IT support and logistics.

SMEs who have benefited from the programme include electronics manufacturer Arian EMS, 3D printing specialist MakeitQuick, lean manufacturing specialist Lean Deployment Solutions and Newcastle-based sustainable safety solutions specialist, Ekobox.

Set up in 2021, Ekobox aims to revolutionise the PPE market by supplying locally built, sustainable storage units for waste PPE storage and recycling, and providing ethically sourced PPE equipment chosen for its low environmental impact.

Through the Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme, we supported Ekobox in launching its services at the North East Automotive Expo in September, and helped the company enhance its digital marketing activities.

David Hunter, owner and manager of Ekobox said: “It has been a pleasure working with Horizon Works as part of the SCNE Back to Basics Programme. The body of work they have produced as part of the programme has been much more than we ever expected. It was both thorough and insightful and has allowed us to position the business in a new direction. A large part of this is based on their recommendations and advice.

“Their team are friendly and have always been available for some ad hoc advice by phone, email and video call, which from a new company’s point of view, is vital.

“We would not hesitate to recommend the SCNE Back to Basics Programme.

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Horizon Works again on the Marketing for Automotive Programme under Supply Chain North East. The fact we are doing a third cohort speaks for itself – the excellent feedback from companies who have already worked with Horizon Works validates the importance of this programme, and having undertaken our research at the onset, we know there is need for SMEs in the automotive sector, or those wishing to move into the sector, to better understand all elements of marketing.

“I would encourage other SMEs in the North East LEP region to come forward and take advantage of our next cohort this month.”

Samantha Vassallo, managing director of Horizon Works, added: “We are proud to be working with SCNE and the NEAA on delivering the Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme.

“The North East is home to a thriving cluster of innovative SMEs, and we’re delighted to be helping businesses to enter or diversify into the automotive industry.

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

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.

The Back to Business Basics Marketing for Automotive Programme will start on November 30.