Advancing the Competitiveness of NE Automotive SMEs
(ACE SME) Programme

The ACE SME Programme offers eligible Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) support to expand business capability and a platform to connect to supply chain and business opportunities.

SMEs will have access to support provided by the NEAA, senior industry leaders and appropriate business support programmes, including:

  • Information, advice and guidance
  • Company diagnostic and a tailored action plan
  • Training and workshop interventions to improve capability
  • Marketing services
  • Networking events and industry focussed masterclasses
  • Grant funding for events
  • Signposting to brokerage opportunities

Opportunities for North East SMEs

This programme will support the SMEs existing strategy in areas of productivity and efficiency and will help influence its future strategy in a sector that is rapidly expanding. For non-manufacturing SMEs, it has the potential to support growth aspirations in the automotive sector.

SMEs are critically important to the North East automotive supply chain and growing the SME supply base in the region is a major focus of the NEAA. The programme will help improve regional competitiveness of SMEs and ultimately support the local content objectives of the automotive supply chain.

  1. Network & Connectivity

    • Promotion of company capability

    • Increased business and collaboration opportunities

    • Networking events and industry focussed masterclasses

    • Training and workshop interventions

  2. Business Competitiveness

    • Access to industry focussed masterclasses

    • Continuous improvement activity

  3. Innovation & Technology

    • Showcasing SME technology 

    • Support in the commercialisation of new technologies

    • Dissemination of funding opportunities and support to identify partners

    • Exemplar projects programme with funding to enable companies to bring new technology or processes to market

  4. Trade & Investment

    • Attracting SMEs into the supply chain

    • Developing trade opportunities for SMEs


Download our Overview

To register interest in joining the ACE SME Programme, please contact or call 0191 516 4400

The NEAA SME project is receiving up to £669,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF.

Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit:


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