The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) celebrates a major landmark by signing up its 200th company to the cluster.
Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA stated: “It’s just 19 months since our launch so this is a significant milestone in our brief cluster history; and testament to the excellent work of our team and the NEAA board.”
Launched on the 27th March 2015 the NEAA was established to support the sustainable economic growth and competitiveness of the North East automotive sector. Through the NEAA companies find benefit from leadership and co-ordination of activities which have mutual benefit. The NEAA acts as a voice for the sector and provides a strong network which provides collaboration and business opportunities, supports existing companies in the region and is more compelling and attractive environment for investors.
Butler, who is a recognised cluster expert, explained: “I had a strong belief that the NEAA would be a success. As the UK’s only benchmarking expert for the European Secretariat for Cluster Excellence (ESCA) I have been able to instil the best practice from the benchmarking of over 850 clusters across the globe.”
The aforementioned benchmarking has recognised that cluster management excellence is the single most important factor in the success or failure of newly formed clusters.
Helmut Kergel, Director, European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) said of the success: “To achieve the “Cluster Management Excellence Label BRONZE – Striving for Cluster Excellence” in record time and attain excellent results is a fantastic achievement.”
“Even more impressing is the fact that the NEAA already fulfilled a high share of criteria for the internationally recognised quality label for cluster management, the ‘Cluster Management Excellence Label GOLD – Proven for Cluster Excellence’, which would put it in the top 1% of clusters across Europe.”
“Paul and the cluster management team have achieved great things and their commitment to our principles is a clear indication of their desire to provide industry with the best platform to maximise the growth potential of the sector.”
Industry leadership is a key facet of cluster management excellence and is the driving force behind the NEAA success and expansion. Simply review the NEAA’s Executive and Advisory Boards and it’s a ‘who’s who’ of North East automotive.
Industry support for the NEAA is further demonstrated by its ability to harness the in-kind support for cluster activities. Today, the NEAA has over 100 industrialist working through the various thematic working groups.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan Divisional Vice President for European Manufacturing & Chair of the NEAA commented: “It is great news that the NEAA has hit such a significant landmark. Achieving 200 participants reflects the current strength and diversity of the North East automotive sector.
“The NEAA provides a platform for a collaborative, industry-led approach to maximising the region’s growth potential. I know all associated with the alliance will be looking to build on this success.”
The Nissan announcement is a huge boost of confidence for the North East’s automotive sector and further strengthens the NEAA’s role in supporting the sustainable economic growth and competitiveness of the regions automotive sector.
In addition the Automotive Investment Organisation has highlighted a £4 billion re-shore opportunity for the UK automotive supply; and further growth and expansion across the UK will further strengthen the need for the region to be organised and ready to maximise the growth opportunities for the region.
The NEAA offers companies strategic support in three key thematic areas – Business Competitiveness, Skills and Innovation & Technology. Later this year this will be extended to include Trade & Investment. Through an ERDF funded programme the NEAA is also able to offer eligible SMEs specific support to improve capability or to help them enter the supply chain.
Butler finished by saying: “The future is bright for the North East automotive sector, we are still a young organisation but with the leadership and guidance of industry we look forward to rising to the challenges and driving the sector forward.”