Northeast deals of the week: main investments, contracts and acquisitions

Technology Sector Network Dynamo merged with Sunderland Software City in a move he says will bring him more capacity to support the region’s growing digital tech economy.

Newcastle-based Dynamo staff join the team at Sunderland Software City, the industry-led body retaining its status as a community benefit company.

It follows increased collaboration between the two organizations during the pandemic and will see increased efforts to close the region’s digital skills gap.

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Dr. David Dunn, who will serve as CEO of Dynamo alongside Software City, said Dynamo members and the wider technology community in the region will benefit from more coordinated and integrated support.

He said: “Both organizations have gained a deep understanding of their work over the past decade to develop the region’s digital economy. Meanwhile, the synergies between the two have become more apparent, especially in addressing skills shortages. »



The Innovation Lab team of scientists

The North East Innovation Lab has been awarded a £1.4m grant to continue its work evaluating and evaluating the next generation of diagnostic tests.

Part of Newcastle Hospitals, the lab was originally set up as part of the region’s integrated Covid hub and supports the development of the technology needed to detect viruses and other health threats.

Based in the science district of Newcastle Helix, the NHS Laboratory’s team of scientists specialize in molecular biology, methodology and clinical research, with a clientele including UK and international organisations, from university spin-outs to large multinational corporations .

Investment in the future of the lab has come from the North East and North Cumbria University Health Sciences Network and the NHS England Fast Track Collaboration.

The head of the lab said the new funding recognizes the successful contribution he has already made to the evaluation of new Covid-19 testing technologies. Since launching in January 2021, the team has been in contact with over 70 organizations across the world, from the UK to the US and Australia, and has 36 projects in place with 17 companies.

Dr John Tyson, Head of the North East Innovation Lab, said: “We are delighted to secure this £1.4 million investment, which allows us to continue our work to ‘test the tests’, helping developers to ensure that their products work well and accurately.

“Since our launch, many of our projects have focused on detecting and containing Covid-19, playing a role in the fight against the pandemic and developing new diagnostic technologies around the world.”

A Northumberland holiday park has been taken over by a growing Essex company in an undisclosed deal.

Wyldecrestbased in West Thurrock, bought the holiday home at 167 Felmoor Park, near Felton, Northumberland, in a deal arranged by Colliers.



Felmoor Park in Northumberland
Felmoor Park in Northumberland

The 39.2-acre park is licensed for 185 units to operate 12 months of the year and entered the confidential market when the founding family owners announced they wanted to retire.

The site – which is mostly made up of log cabins, static caravans and private lodges – was particularly attractive to Wyldecrest due to its established reputation in the North East.

Felmoor Park becomes Wyldecrest’s 10th location and is close to the company’s neighboring Bockenfield Country Holiday Park, which is becoming increasingly popular for staycations.

high street retailer MRS expanded its partnership with pioneering Newcastle clothing hire company Hirestreet.

Hirestreet, which is led by former Young Businesswoman of the Year Isabella West, secured investment last year from M&S’s Founders Factory, which invests in start-ups and emerging businesses, particularly in the technology sector.



Part of the new M&S range available for hire through Hirestreet
Part of the new M&S range available for hire through Hirestreet

In the company’s largest deal to date, M&S has used Hirestreet’s Zoa technology to test rental clothing for customers who want to both spend less on clothing and reduce waste.

It proved to be such a success that Hirestreet has now launched a second collection, in the biggest ever retailer collaboration for the Haylofts-based accessible fashion rental platform.

Rosie Hartman, Chief Strategy Officer at Hirestreet, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with M&S, with the launch of the Spring collection, making this our largest collaboration with retailers. With a reputation for stylish, quality clothing, M&S items proved popular from the moment they launched on Hirestreet.

A North East entrepreneur who sold his workwear business in a £50million deal has made a first acquisition via new venture.



Andrew Ward, left, who has acquired Merrington Industrial Estate in Spennymoor, with Peter Bartley, Group Director at Bradley Hall.
Andrew Ward, left, who has acquired Merrington Industrial Estate in Spennymoor, with Peter Bartley, Group Director at Bradley Hall.

Andrew Ward landed a major deal last year for Durham-based Workwear Express, a business he started aged 18 with little more than a van and a sewing machine, turning it into a leading manufacturer and supplier employing over 280 people, supplying workwear, promotional wear and PPE to all industries worldwide.

Five months after selling the business to distribution and outsourcing giant Bunzl, the Durham entrepreneur has bought Merrington Industrial Estate to Spennymoor in an £8million deal, as the first purchase for his new company Ward Group Investments.

A Tyneside engineering firm is set to create jobs after receiving a major investment package.

CMS Holdings UK Ltd, the parent company of Commercial Maintenance Services UK Ltd, has secured the undisclosed long-term investment from the London-based company new capital. The funding will help the Gateshead company grow its market share and invest in staff to meet growing demand.



Left to right: Bennet Hoskyns-Abrahall (Commercial Director, CMS), Yann Moulary (Chief Investment Officer, Newable Capital), Steve Dunn (Director of Compliance and Human Resources, CMS), Peter Barrand (Managing Director, Newable Capital ), Nic Smith (Founder and Managing Director CMS).
Left to right: Bennet Hoskyns-Abrahall (Commercial Director, CMS), Yann Moulary (Chief Investment Officer, Newable Capital), Steve Dunn (Director of Compliance and Human Resources, CMS), Peter Barrand (Managing Director, Newable Capital ), Nic Smith (Founder and Managing Director CMS).

Founded in 2000, CMS was started by brothers and experienced engineers Nic and Neil Smith, and the company today employs more than 190 people nationwide, with growth driven by investment supported year on year by The founders. The company specializes in the installation, maintenance and repair of systems such as heating, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, catering equipment and renewable energies.

North East auto retailer Vertu Motors has acquired the Derby multi-dealer site it has operated from since 2012, which it says secures the strategically important location.

In a £7.1million deal, plus fees, based in Gateshead Virtue took control of the freehold and long lease interests in the 5.5 acre site, where it acquired dealerships from Co-operative Group Motors Limited ten years ago.

A lease on the premises was granted to Virtue at the time of purchase and is due to expire in February 2026.

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