A new programme has been launched that will provide grants of up to £1,000 to sustainable start-ups based in Tyne and Wear.

The Sustainable Start-up Award, managed by Newcastle-based NEN member PNE Enterprise, will grant at least 50 Tyne and Wear businesses up to £1,000 to support with start-up costs.

The programme, the first of its kind in the region, will support new and emerging businesses by providing funding and practical support, including one-to-one mentoring appointments and tickets to workshops and masterclasses by leading business professionals.

The programme is designed for businesses that are less than 3 months old and that are founded by entrepreneurs aged between 18-30.

To be considered for a grant, applicants must be able to show how their business supports at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations. The goals cover everything from health and wellbeing to poverty, gender issues and energy solutions.

Lee Longstaff, manager of the Sustainable Start-up Award, said: “The Sustainable Start-up Award provides an excellent opportunity to support more bright and innovative businesses who need that extra financial push to get started.

“As supporters of entrepreneurship for over 35 years, we will work with businesses throughout the region to help them make the most of the opportunities available to them to successfully start-up a sustainable business and then eventually grow.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity which has not been previously available to Tyne and Wear start-ups.”

PNE Enterprise, part of social enterprise PNE Group, has supported over 10,000 North East businesses since its inception in 1980. The agency provides a range of funded and paid-for business support including a two-day start-up course, one-to-one advice and mentoring sessions and a business growth programme.

Dawn Cranswick, Chief Executive of PNE Group, commented, “As an organisation, PNE Group has always strived to promote sustainability and to endorse responsible businesses. Our work with clients has enabled us to promote sustainable enterprise in the national and international sphere, and now we’re delighted to offer more dedicated support to businesses starting up in Tyne and Wear.

“We’re incredibly excited about the programme and the potential long-term impact it can make to businesses within the area.”

The Sustainable Start-up Award opens for applications on Monday 12th February 2018. Those interested in the award are encouraged to get in touch with PNE Enterprise by calling 0191 230 6410, emailing bss@pne.org or visiting www.pne-enterprise.org/sustainable-start-up-award