Global unicorn companies should support smaller firms in their local area.

That is the view of Stuart Lynn, CTO at accountancy software giant Sage.

Sage UK boasts a turnover of £264 million and remains headquartered in Newcastle.

The FTSE100 firm is credited with providing a solid technology skills base from which the tech sector in the North East can flourish.
Its passion for the region is shown through a mentoring scheme which Lynn says can shore up its tech credentials.

“At Sage we do a lot of business mentoring because we love to see small businesses develop and grow,” he told BusinessCloud.

“Two-thirds of the UK is made up of SMEs and only one third is the enterprise.

“A lot of hiring in the NE is by the SME community. We supply services and software to those businesses and do a lot behind the scenes to help those businesses prosper as well.”

There is a vibrant start-up scene in Newcastle, with hubs Campus North and Science Central boasting many promising businesses at their premises.

 

However it is taking the next step which can prove most difficult.

“What you find with SMEs in general is they reach a tipping point,” says Lynn.

“It’s hard to scale a business – we can offer advice to people on how to do that, turning a small business into a medium-sized business.

“We can advise on how to put together a strategy and establish what a firm’s goals are.

“A lot of entrepreneurs are following a dream but don’t really know how to commercialise it.”

Sage has a foundation which aims to guarantee two percent of employee time and two per cent of free cash flow to support registered charities, social enterprises and non-profit organisations.

Lynn is proud of the foundation, which extends far beyond the North East region.

“We give back through the Sage Foundation without wanting anything in return.

“Not just in the North East, but in Manchester, London and Dublin as well.”

Lynn also spoke of how the North East has a history of reinventing itself following the demise of mining and shipbuilding.