North East entrepreneurs looking to start-up and scale-up online businesses are being offered support and funding from online auction giant eBay.
The US name is holding a Business Roadshow at the INNSiDE hotel on Newcastle Quayside tomorrow, Thursday, June 9, where those looking to launch their business idea or grow an existing business will have the chance to hear from its own experts as well as representatives from Small Business Britain and the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Attendees will also be invited to apply for grants of up to £ 250,000 and ‘start and scale packages’ of £ 750,000, with up to £ 1m available in total.
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The event will include speeches from Andy Richardson, business development director at eBay, and Michelle Ovens OBE, founder of Small Business Britain alongside 1-2-1 advice billed as ‘business clinics’ covering topics such as marketing, access to finance and selecting delivery providers.
eBay points to recent research of its own which shows 68% of small businesses in the North East say they are facing cost pressures across all parts of their business – creating an adverse effect on investment in skills and training.
The survey also found 62% of small business owners thought their finances were stretched, and only 57% said they were optimistic about the future, compared to 82% in London.
Murray Lambell, general manager, eBay UK said: “Our research shows that businesses in the North East are sadly still grappling with the impact of Covid, while at the same time facing the astronomical inflation that is set to hamper all parts of society for some time.
“The eBay Business Roadshow is designed to help small businesses see their way through these challenges, gaining new skills, expertise and funding to help them not only survive, but thrive in these trying times.
“We’re looking forward to spending some time with the entrepreneurs in Newcastle and the surrounding areas, offering whatever support we can do to help them start up, scale and grow.”
North East small business Schott Packaging was set up by 30-year-old Tom Schott in 2016 and last year saw revenues of about £ 1.3m, selling partly through eBay. The firm has successfully grown online sales and says it is on track to surpass last year’s turnover.
Ms Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with eBay for the Business Roadshow, sharing our expertise to give budding entrepreneurs and small businesses new training and skills to take their business even further.
“The event promises to be a big day for small businesses to learn, grow and network, helping connect and inspire founders from the North East and further afield. We can’t wait to meet these fantastic businesses this week.
Small businesses can sign up to attend the event, which takes place on Thursday June 9, from 10am to 8pm here.