Claire Maith - Group Chief Financial Officer, Bloom Procurement Services
Did you grow up in the North East or did you decide to relocate here in later life?
I grew up in the west end of Newcastle with my parents and three brothers and have spent most of my life in the region.
What do you think it means to be a businessperson in the North East of England?
I feel extremely proud to be a business person operating in the North East. Our business, Bloom, is thriving in the region and we have recently relocated our core operations here due to the significant opportunities on offer. There is a vast amount of inward investment, particularly in the SME community and we are privileged to work with a huge range of businesses with 70% of our supply chain made up of SMEs. Bloom offers suppliers a simple route to market to win business with the 300 public sector organisations across the UK through our partnership with the North East Procurement Organisation. As a result, Bloom has grown its workforce by over 200% in the last couple of years and has been blown away by the level of talent and loyalty in the region.
What is your favourite aspect of life in the North East?
The diversity. In the region we can combine busy and hectic city living and still be in the countryside or at the beach within minutes. After a long and hectic week at work in the city it is great to be able to jump on my bike and cycle out into the hills or go for a walk or a run in the countryside.
Where do you like to eat out in the region?
I love to cook at home and entertain family and friends as we have some fantastic local produce right on our door step. However, when I am feeling more extravagant, I make a trip to The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall or The Bay Horse at Hurworth on Tees, both near Darlington.
Are the people really friendlier?
Without a doubt. I have travelled all over the world and you cant compare the warm welcome you receive when meeting a Geordie overseas or returning home. We have warm hearts, open minds and show compassion to others that I have not seen anywhere else in the world.
What do you think is the best view in the North East?
You cant beat the view up the river from the Ouseburn side of the Quayside. I quite often run along the Quayside in the dark in the mornings and the view of the Millennium Bridge, The Sage and our iconic Tyne Bridge all lit up is breath-taking. I recently visited Sydney and I am convinced ours is better!
Do you think living and working in the North East offers the same opportunities as elsewhere in the UK?
The North East region provides a close-knit business community and therefore offers networking opportunities that will rival all other major cities. Whilst it is small it is fortunate enough to have some of the UKs leading businesses operating in the region with some great success stories. Our business, Bloom, for example, is opening up procurement for public sector organisations offering a fast and simple route to do business. As a result, Bloom has grown its turnover by over 300% in the last three years and we are now considering what opportunities exist to work with the private sector, for us, the region is booming.
Have you had any experience of working elsewhere and how did it compare?
I worked in Glasgow for eight years and lived there permanently for four years. It was a very easy transition to Glasgow, the people made me feel very welcome and culturally we are very aligned. However, after four years I got home sick and returned to the North East, for me, there is no place like home.