Free online business support events


Our free events programme is based on the themes of resilience and innovation, and is shaped around the intelligence gathered directly from regional businesses. The events are delivered by business leaders who share their knowledge and expertise around resilience, innovation and the challenges businesses are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Citylife Business Support is a free service for SMEs based in the North of Tyne region which have been adversely affected by COVID, helping them to adapt to new challenges and safeguard jobs.

The service has been set up by extending and bringing together expertise from across the city, including NGI. A free package of support will focus on enabling businesses to develop and implement new models of delivery to help them recover and plan for their future.

As well as this free events programme, eligible SMEs can also access up to 8 hours of free support from Business & IP Centre Newcastle (BIPC) ‘Citylife Experts’. Click here to find our more.

Sign up to receive communication from Citylife as new webinars in the series are announced.



As part of the Citylife Business Support service, the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Newcastle is holding a number of webinars with Citylife Experts.



North East England Tourism Awards – application workshop

To support our region’s tourism businesses with writing the most successful North East England Tourism Awards applications, we are running an Awards Applicant Workshop.

The session is designed to help existing and potential new applications to understand:

– The benefits to applying
– What the judges are looking for
– How to create the best applications
– How to make the most of their participation and their success


Great digital expectations – your website beyond lockdown

This webinar is to help guide SMEs in the practical steps they can take to ensure their website is fit for purpose in today’s digital world. Marketing agency JUMP and Digital Tepee will guide you through some keyways you can optimise your website in your day-to-day work.

Experts will share their step-by-step guide on how to produce SEO optimised content, how to track your website’s performance on Google and their top tips on maintaining a high-performance website, putting you in good stead to drive valuable footfall on your website over the coming months.


Working together to address the tourism and hospitality jobs crisis

This webinar will bring tourism employers and employability providers together to address the jobs crisis tourism sector. It is aimed at tourism and hospitality businesses, who will hear the latest on support and opportunities that are available to help them to recruit staff now and continue to retain and attract new people.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the North East still has the highest unemployment rates outside of London, yet the hospitality industry is struggling to fill thousands of vacancies.

This sector has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic, and as we see businesses start to bounce back and reopen their doors, they have struggled to bring staff back from furlough and recruit for key roles that will allow them to operate at capacity.

The aim of this webinar is to bring the industry together, share learning, look at the national picture, discuss challenges, and share local research conducted by NGI with employers that will facilitate ideas and discussions about what is needed to restore confidence, tackle the jobs crisis, and stimulate demand for a career in the industry.


A UK Tourism Recovery Plan and the implications of a delay to the roadmap

An opportunity for tourism and hospitality businesses to hear from city leaders and NGI about the implications of a four-week delay to the road map and recently published Tourism Recovery Plan that sets out the role that the UK government will play in assisting and accelerating the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19.

This event will be of interest to anyone who is interested in plans for tourism recovery and how they can access new schemes and initiatives as they plan for the future.


Supporting businesses and shining a light on our tourism industry

During English Tourism Week 2021, NewcastleGateshead Initiative invites you to celebrate the vast contribution our tourism industry makes to the regional economy and to hear more about how NGI and how the region will support and shine a light on the sector as we head towards economic recovery. 

This event will reflect on the challenges of the past 12 months, highlight reasons to look forward with optimism – including investment and support for our industry, recovery campaigns and large-scale events.


A public health update for businesses

As the economy continues to reopen and we move towards another key milestone, this webinar gives businesses the opportunity to hear the latest public health picture, following the reopening of outdoor hospitality and as we look towards the reopening of indoor hospitality, hotels, entertainment and cultural venues.

The 17th May is a pivotal point in the government’s road map, and this webinar aims to give businesses a clear picture of the public health situation so they can reopen and continue to operate with confidence. They will also be able to hear more about plans for the city centre, and businesses as hard-hit sectors start to move forward and bounce back.


A safe return to the office

The return to the office will be critical to both our local economy and the health and well-being of those who have been working remotely for the past 12 months.

As the vaccine roll-out continues at pace and our city centre starts to reopen, businesses are starting to prepare for getting back into the office and experiencing everything our city has to offer.

While many are eager to get back to the office, there is lots to think about. From free lateral Covid tests and safety measures, to redesigning office space and transport provision, employees need to feel confident and supported. This event is an opportunity for employers to hear from city leaders and experts on the practicalities of getting employees back to work safely and responsibly.


Our Destination – A Plan for Recovery

With the reopening of tourism and hospitality on the horizon, it is vital that businesses across our region feel prepared and confident to welcome visitors back safely. In this webinar representatives from NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle City Council and NE1 will present a draft of the Destination Recovery Plan. This plan outlines the key areas of activity that will be undertaken to reassure the public, stimulate demand and support businesses over the next 12 months.

This webinar will also provide the opportunity for businesses to be part of the consultation on the plans and to direct any questions to the panel regarding the 12-month plan.


Using paid social ads to reach your target markets and boost bookings

The second part of our social media marketing series for hospitality businesses focuses on paid social media adverts.

Have you heard people boast about the amazing results they achieve from paid social media ads but unsure on where to start? In this webinar, marketing specialists from Stay the Night will walk you through the practical process of setting up a successful ad on social media so you can begin advertising like a pro and boost your bottom line.


Q&A: A £50m transformation of our city centre

Part of a webinar series: NewcastleGateshead’s Roadmap to Recovery.

Newcastle City Council has unveiled its £50m vision to transform our city centre as part of an ambitious wider recovery plan. This is a critical part of the council’s long-held vision to improve the city centre, which has become even more important as we look to recover following the devastating impact of Covid-19. The programme will bring significant investment to the city centre and ensure Newcastle remains a place where businesses can thrive.

Sarah Green, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative will be joined by Michelle Percy, Director of Place at Newcastle City Council and Graham Grant, Assistant Director of Transport at Newcastle City Council who will talk through these ambitions to create a safer, more appealing, and healthier green city with outdoor spaces and activities that people, and their families can enjoy together. This is also an opportunity to hear about how businesses can engage with the city on wider plans to recover, reshape, and reinvent Newcastle.


Get ready to reopen: protect our planet and your profit

Every year a third of food that is produced is wasted, and for businesses that means revenue is lost. With the gradual reopening of businesses on the horizon, it’s time to think about how you can save money and incorporate sustainability into your plan.

We are partnering with Too Good To Go and Food and Drink North East for this webinar to introduce you to the Too Good To Go platform and how you can use it to protect both the environment and your profit.

If you weren’t able to join the webinar you can still sign up to hear more about Too Good To Go. Fill out this form and Caroline will be in touch.


How to turn lookers into bookers: converting social media followers into paying customers

Our two-part social media marketing series for hospitality businesses starts with a deep dive into organic social media.

Is your business struggling to see tangible results from your social media marketing? Marketing experts from Stay the Night will lead the session and share strategies, tips and tools to help you get the most out of your social media channels. From optimising your profiles to creating engaging content, you’ll learn how to build a loyal audience who will be excited to book with you.


NewcastleGateshead’s Roadmap to Recovery

The 2021 budget marks a significant milestone towards recovery and the governments exit plan has given clarity on the road ahead as businesses plan for reopening. At this pivotal point, we know that businesses have questions relating to the stages of the roadmap, the public health picture and financial support available.

Join NewcastleGateshead Initiative and representatives from both Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council to hear the latest national and local thinking on restarting our city. This is also an opportunity to ask the panel any questions you may have.


Let’s talk about mental health in the workplace

The pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and closure of businesses have impacted most people’s mental health and wellbeing. Knowing how to have conversations with your colleagues and employees about mental health is more important than ever, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

As staff look to return from furlough, employers should consider their integration back into the workplace, as it may be a daunting or overwhelming experience.

Employment and mental health specialists Elsa Wright and Ian Martin from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust guide you through the steps you can take to start having these conversations, including tips on what to say and the benefits of producing wellbeing at work plans.


Q&A with Newcastle City Council for hotels

An opportunity for hotels in Newcastle to ask Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, questions around the new legislations and how they will impact hotels.


Q&A with Newcastle City Council for tourism and hospitality businesses

The announcement placing the North East within Tier 3 Covid restrictions is disappointing for all living and working in area, and devastating news for our tourism and hospitality industry. We know that under normal circumstances, hospitality businesses can take up to 30 per cent of their annual turnover in the month of December and this cash is then used to pay wages through the quieter months of January, February and March.

At this key moment for our region, we know that you will all have questions relating to the current public health picture, the tiers and restrictions and the national Covid Christmas plan. Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, answer questions around the new legislations and how they will impact tourism and hospitality businesses in Newcastle.


Using digital to overcome Covid-19 challenges

Adapting your business to an online audience has been crucial for the survival of countless businesses that have been forced to close during England’s second lockdown.

Dr Dimitra Skoumpopoulou from Northumbria University and Caroline Hagan from web design and development company Blueocto will discuss how small businesses have successfully adapted to the digitally focused world the pandemic has plunged us into. Along with tips on how you can diversify your offerings, you’ll receive guidance from experts on how to improve your digital presence on a budget.

This will be followed by a panel discussion with local SME’s that have successfully adapted, using digital, during coronavirus. Our panelists include: representatives from Blackfriars, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Iles Tours, as well as the creator of Book Slots App.


The importance of an online strategy – a digital marketing masterclass

Brand performance experts at Precept will take you through why a performance strategy is essential for a high performing website, plus how to utilise SEO and PPC to boost your business’ visibility and engagement online and how to build a strategy to get the most out of digital.

Coronavirus has emphasised the importance of businesses having an online presence, but it can often feel like you’re a small fish in a big pond. This webinar will guide you through the step-by-step actions you can take to successfully market your business online.


The latest on furlough – what happens next

Jamie Gamble, employment partner at Ward Hadaway talks us through the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of March – what’s different and what this means for your business.


The jobs market and future proofing your business

The end of October marks the end of furlough and has been flagged as a key date for the jobs market, leading to many questions, challenges and an

There is an increased need to support employers to future proof their business and support those at risk of redundancy. Employers want to do what they can to support employees at risk of redundancy, signposting to new opportunities and organisations that can help with skills such as cv writing, business planning, interview preparation and more.

A range of experts come together to talk through the jobs market and the latest redundancy advice and support available to employers.


Adapt to survive – innovation success factors

In 2020, businesses have had to adapt and innovate more than ever before – either adapting an existing offering to suit the changing demands of customers, using unexpected down times to develop long planned product ideas, or spotting new opportunities for the business.

This webinar talks through some of the main success factors that can lead to innovation success. Led by innovation experts from GX Project, Teal Enterprise and DKS Straightforward it talks through how you can analyse your product and its got to market plan to ensure the most effective launch, and if you’re working with a team to launch the product, how you can share your vision and get the best out of those around you to ensure the innovation’s success.

There’s also a chance to hear more about how to register to join two fully funded innovation programmes that the GX Project is running in November.


The Visitor Economy – The Road to Recovery

Hear speakers from VisitEngland, the North East LEP, our local authorities and NGI on how we plan to work together to make sure our industry comes back stronger than ever.

Discussion are centered around:

  • Steps to recovery for the local tourism industry – what are the quick wins and longer term goals?
  • Business support and funding – what is available and what is coming?
  • National and regional economic recovery planning and the role tourism plays in this.


Is the Non Green Company Becoming Extinct? How To Embed Environmental And Sustainability Policies Into Your Business

Climate change is re-emerging as a crucial part of the reopening of the economy, with councils creating cycling lanes and widening pavements to encourage walking or cycling to work, and companies becoming more switched on to their impact on the environment and the sustainability expectations of their customer base.

In this webinar, find out how your business can embed environmental and sustainability into your Covid recovery plan, and how going green could improve your brand and widen your market too.


Transport In Focus – What Next For The Daily Commute?

This webinar will explore how Covid-19, along with economic and environmental considerations, are shaping the future of transport in the region. Whether you need to know the impact of Covid 19 your employees’ daily commute, or your business delivers products or services for the transport sector and you want to learn more about its future plans, join this webinar to hear from industry experts.

  • Newcastle City Council who will explain how data and technology are helping with parking, footfall and transport movement.
  • Go North East, who will tell us more about their vehicle investments and how ticketing changes will support commuters.
  • Nexus, who will describe how Covid has changed when and where people travel for leisure, work and education.
  • The North East England Chamber of Commerce will outline the opportunities in the transport industry, and the challenges they’re looking to solve.



The future of work environments

Experts from Northumbria University, Space Group and Cundall explore what the future of work environments might look like. How are smart technology and long-term considerations of Covid-19 shaping the future of work environments?

Rob Charlton, CEO, Space Group, Lars Eric Holmquist, Professor of Innovation at Northumbria School of Design and Duncan Cox, Structural Engineering Partner at Cundall discuss various key elements of the future of the physical work environment including how a Digital Twin of your building can help to optimise your business, how smart tech will be integrated with traditional things like architecture in the future, and how digital design can deliver healthier and more sustainable spaces.


Staff wellbeing and welfare – How to prepare staff for moving back into the work environment

Having spent so much time away from the workplace many staff are understandably concerned about returning. Join this webinar to hear from experts about the best approaches when addressing the concerns and welfare of staff. Learn how you can help staff balance working from home with returning to the office and what learnings we should take from lockdown.


Logistics & Practicalities – preparing for moving back to your work environment

Chances are if your organisation hasn’t moved back into its work environment yet, consideration is being given as to how, who and when. Government guidelines are available but what does it look like in practice? How do you ensure a workplace is ‘Covid secure’? How do you implement a phased return to work? What legal requirements should you consider?

In this webinar Dr Wendy Pollock, Associate Professor of Nursing & Health at Northumbria University, Angela Macfarlane, Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University and Andy Hook, Owner of Blackfriars and Dobson & Parnell provide guidance and answers to these questions, plus, other areas you might not have even thought of.


Public Health update

On this webinar we hear the latest update on the public health situation in the region. Gerald Tompkins, Public Health Consultant at Gateshead Council, gives an update on the current regional public health situation and what the picture looks like in the short, medium and long-term future.


How educational visitor attractions are adapting and innovating to reopen

With 1 in 5 businesses not looking to reopen until August or September, it is clear there is uncertainty and challenges, particularly in the tourism sector. Mark Brassell, Director of Alnwick Garden, and Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of the International Centre for Life, which is home to Life Science Centre, outline how their respective organisations are adapting and innovating towards reopening.


Accessing grants & funding: Creating an innovative, digital pitch

Estelle Blanks, Executive Director of Innovation Supernetwork NE, takes businesses through the steps necessary to take a product to investors and funders. Whether your business is seeking a private investor or major government funding, success can depend on your ability to communicate your product and its commercial potential to the decision makers. This webinar takes you through the information an investor is looking for, how to get investor ready and how to create a digital pitch deck for Investor presentations.


The impact of reopening on Public Health

Hear the latest update on the public health situation in the region. Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health at Newcastle City Council, talks speaks about the local public health outlook after the reopening of hospitality businesses and the current situation with local lockdowns.


Emerging tech for a re-emerging region

The founders of the Locale app provide more details on how it helps move people around the city’s venue whilst enabling social distancing and how it could help your hospitality or tourism business. NGI’s Director of Leisure Tourism Ian Thomas also outlines how the organisation is taking an innovative approach to supporting the tourism and hospitality sector.


Reopening: A Public Health Update

Watch this webinar to hear another update on the public health situation in the region. As hospitality businesses get ready to reopen and Leicester goes into a local lockdown, Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council, gives an update on the current local public health situation and how these changes will affect the situation.


We’re Good to Go industry standard and TXGB digital marketplace for tourism

Find out about two national schemes and how they could support your business as the tourism industry sets to reopen on 4 July.

Hear from VisitEngland about their work on domestic recovery, including the We’re Good to Go industry standard.

Hear more about TXGB, the UK’s digital marketplace for tourism, brought to you by VisitEngland. James Berzins, Director of TXGB, explains how businesses across the UK are taking part in the market and benefiting from the free support on offer.


Public Health update

Hear an update from Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health at Newcastle City Council, on the public health situation in the region. Eugene gives an update on the current local public health situation, using Newcastle as an example, and how the evidence being gathered is informing decision making.


Digitising in the cultural sector – necessity and opportunity

Hear from Sarah Younas, at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and Jon Weston, from Sunderland Culture, who tell us about how their venues have moved online during lockdown, finding the right online content to engage an audience and plans for reopening.


Adapt to survive

This session draws from McKinsey, the World Health Organization and others to share information about the emerging business landscape we find ourselves in, as well as measures that you can immediately put into place after the call to better position your organisation.

The focus is on the next 90-days; financial measures you must take and the considerations to give to pivoting your offerings quickly.


Public Health Briefing

Hear the latest update on the public health situation in the region. Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council, gives a briefing on the current public health situation in Gateshead and how the evidence being gathered is informing decision making at a local level.

Alice discusses the position that we are in now and areas of concern and challenges moving forward.


Opportunities and challenges with the ageing audience

Nic Palmarini, Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), and Abigail Pogson, Chief Executive at Sage Gateshead, discuss what the current sentiment might be towards travel, which tech and digital experiences are engaging an ageing audience, and, moving forward, how leisure and travel habits may change and what businesses can do to adapt and innovate for future visitors.


What Big Data is telling us about the future of tourism

As the tourism industry has responded to the impact of the Coronavirus, data and insight has been critical in helping with decision making and strategic thinking. A number of regional companies are at the forefront of using data gathering to support and inform the future of our towns and cities and their tourism offering.

Hear from The Urban Observatory and Wordnerds about what big data is telling us and what the future might look like.


The Economic Picture from the Bank of England

On the 7th May 2020 the Bank of England published this quarter’s Monetary Policy Report, the first since the UK lockdown.

In this webinar, Gareth Harrison, Deputy Agent for the Bank of England in the North East, talked through the figures and what they mean for the economy and North East businesses.

The Monetary Policy Report (May 2020) can be found here

Cashflow planning and funding opportunities

In this webinar, Stephanie Davidson from UNW discussed cashflow planning and what funding opportunities are currently available. Hear how businesses can adapt their forecasts, why this is so important and additional considerations that need to be taken.

Stephanie also talked through the government funding initiatives, such as CBILS, that are available and what other funding is out there.


How to set up and market a successful ecommerce business

Experts from Leaf Grow and RetroFuzz as they discuss how to set up an ecommerce business.

The webinar covers the ease, opportunity and do’s and don’ts of setting up and marketing a successful ecomm business. From Shopify store set up, to fulfilment and Facebook marketing, this will be a 360 view of everything you need to know about ecommerce.


Contracts, managing supply chain issues and the role of directors

Learn about the legal implications of event cancellations, managing supply chains and the role of directors in these financially unstable times.

Ward Hadaway also discuss the role and responsibilities of directors in these extremely unstable financial times.


The latest update on furlough

Roisin Patton from Ward Hadaway gives an update on furlough. She talks to us about what has changed in the last couple of weeks and how this could impact you or your business.


Responding to challenges and plans for restarting

Simon Laing, founder of CBK’s Adventure Co., and Sally Dixon, assistant director at Beamish Museum, discuss how their businesses are responding to the current climate and how they are planning for the future.


The New Tourism Landscape

On this webinar Sarah Green and Ian Thomas from NewcastleGateshead Initiative discussed the issues that tourism businesses are seeking to overcome and what the new normal might look like.

Hear about insights being gathered direct from the industry, the challenges being faced and the opportunities moving forward.


Positive Ways to Keep Your Audience Engaged & Crisis Comms

This webinar looked at the importance of communications during covid-19.

Whether you’re a software company or tourism business, learn how to engage with your audiences, remain visible and communicate difficult messages from communication experts.


Maintaining Employee Engagement

Therese Liddle from NRG shares advice on how to keep both existing employees and future talent engaged. She provides practical advice on how companies can manage and continue their recruitment process during this time.


If you would like to be involved in any of the webinars or have any ideas please contact Molly Lymn at