Donna Petch and Business Support Officer, Jo Sinclair
Sarah Spence

Member Article

Pharmaceutical graduate gets business bug

A Sunderland PhD graduate has swapped her lab coat for her new business, aimed at promoting the North East.

Donna Petch, 30, studied a BSc in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science and completed a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at Sunderland University before moving to Leeds, where she worked at St James’s Hospital and Leeds University in Cancer Research.

Fast forward three years and Donna, from Roker, moved back to her home town where she set up The North East HUB. Donna contacted the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) for advice and courses on how to start her business. Donna explains:

“I came back to the North East initially to get a job as a chemist and be closer to my family, I missed my home town. In the meantime I wondered if I could find something to occupy my time that I both enjoyed and was good at. I came up with the inspiration of helping to promote the North East with an online organisation, using social media, blogs, tutorials and much more and it was from this that The North East HUB was born.”

“The BIC have been fantastic I have learnt a lot; not only about how to promote myself but I have learnt about marketing strategies, and the actual launching of my business.”

Jo Sinclair, Business Support Officer, commented:

“It is always rewarding to see people reap the benefits of being hard working and having a can do attitude. The most favourite part of my job is seeing people succeed in their dreams of becoming their own boss. Donna’s business has gone from strength to strength in a short period of time and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for The North East HUB.”

The North East HUB launched earlier this year and already has a variety of businesses, events and more being promoted on the blog site every week. Most recently Donna helped local singer Jason Isaacs with his successful campaign to win a record contract. Jason said:

“Donna and The North East HUB have been really supportive in helping to promote our gigs and raise our profile in the area. She is a quite inspirational in her energy, passion and the innovative ways in which she engages the public, we are extremely grateful to have her fighting our corner!”

In the near future Donna will be helping Jason to promote his first single as well as working with Roger Armstrong promoting his new sci-fi film which is being filmed in the North East.

Donna adds: “If I could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to start their own business is to just do it, especially if it is something you enjoy and have a passion for.”

The North East BIC offers a wide range of products and services to support the needs of anything who wishes to start a new business, and assists over 150 enterprises in the getting off the ground each year. To contact the business support team call 0191 516 6149 or email businesssupport@ne-bic, Visit Donna’s new venture at

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Spence .

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