Doing more in 2024

Firstly, 2023 – where did you go!  

That’s what came to mind when asked to reflect on the past year.  But then, as I paused, I began to recall the extraordinary rollercoaster of emotions and activities that have characterised the last 12 months.    

A great example being the end of European Structural Funds and the introduction of UK Shared Prosperity Funding, one of the biggest changes in the economic development ecosystem for many years.  Whilst a challenging process for all involved one of the best outcomes are the new, but also reinvigorated, partnerships that we are now part of. 

The year has seen amazing opportunities come to fruition, important relationships develop, and major milestones being achieved. Below are just few of my favourites: 

  • We moved into our new home, Navigators Point in Durham which reaches Grade A office standard and has seen significant improvements to its energy efficiency levels, in line with our commitment to secure net zero status well before 2045. 
  • We released our full Social, Ethical and Environmental Annual Statutory Report which details the real difference we’re making to the world around us. 
  • We’ve helped 45,908 businesses this year to do more and go further. 
  • We’ve formed some amazing new relationships with Virgin Unite to manage their new Local Legends fund, Engineering and Manufacturing Network to deepen support for engineering and manufacturing businesses in North East England, British Business Bank who have embedded UMi Sat Nav within their offering to Start Up Loan recipients. 
  • UMi has added £36,798 to our Community Fund, which since 2019, has received £152,000 to help local projects tackle isolation including donations to organisations such as Derwentside Detached Youth Project, Oasis Community Housing and Melanoma-Me, amongst many more. 
  • We defrayed £16,834,759 in grant and loan funding to businesses. 
  • We’ve launched a series of new funding and support programmes backed by the UK Share Prosperity Fund including Durham Business Growth and the Business Growth Fund. 
  • We delivered 52 events to 4,610 delegates and were delighted to continue with some of our long-established events including the Tees Valley Summit, Stansted Meet the Buyer, London City Meet the Buyer, along with some new ones including Manchester and East Midlands Meet the Buyers.
  • We shone a light on key export sectors and hundreds of awesome businesses through our Northern Powerhouse Export Awards and Scottish Export Index.  
  • We now have 19,590 businesses signed up to our Sat Nav for Business blending digital and real-world support. 
  • We celebrated our awesome team – being nominated for numerous awards, being asked to speak at lots of events and, of course, some personal milestones including welcoming lots of babies, celebrating apprenticeships and qualifications being achieved. 
  • We’ve welcomed HMT into our home who have taken some permanent space with us in Navigators Point. 
  • As a result of all of this, I am so proud that once again 100% of the team agree that UMi is a great place to work.  

Looking forward to 2024  

As we move into 2024, we continue to focus on building our business in a way that considers people, planet, and profit in equal measure, but most of all we are determined to enhance the positive impact that we create each and every day.  

There are many things that are uncertain in today’s world and of course, there will be many challenges ahead, but our confidence comes from the incredible and like-minded partners and customers we work with, to whom we want to express our heartfelt thanks.  

If you want to see how we can work together in 2024, let’s talk. 

Nicki Clark, UMi Chief Executive