The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has helped a yoga teacher develop a new business in Newcastle. By Sara Williams

With development plans and a move to city premises on hold, Nicole Dowley, owner of New Flame Yoga looked towards improving her business skills during the pandemic.

With ambitious plans and an exciting future, Nicole took the opportunity to make good use of time and refresh her business skill base by taking part in Better Business Skills, a new skills programme created by enterprise and business support agency NBSL in conjunction and funded by NTCA. Using the opportunity to enhance her marketing and business management skills, Nicole was able to receive a tailored plan to refresh her skills and plan her next steps with ease.


With increased confidence and the knowledge of how to identify her new audiences, Nicole feels ready to move forward.

“The team of tutors are engaging, supportive and they really know their stuff – these sessions provided a much needed confidence boost at the right time and allowed me to keep positive in the face of COVID restrictions” said Nicole.

Better Business Skills has been devised and developed by NBSL in conjunction with the NTCA to help re-invigorate businesses to confidently develop their abilities and skillset in business. Exclusively available to businesses – and individuals – across Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside & Northumberland, each participant receives tailored plan following analysis of the business and skills needs. The plan identifies opportunities and challenges prior to attending any sessions.

Additional support sessions through peer groups are also developed to help best practice and an opportunity to get to know like-minded businesses for continued support. To access a place on this North of Tyne funded skills scheme, log on to  The NTCA is a combined authority with an elected mayor that was created in November 2018, when Parliament signed off on a £600 million devolution deal bringing Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside councils together in an unprecedented transfer of power and investment from Westminster to the North East.  It is tasked with initiating projects to boost growth, create jobs, and create a more green, inclusive economy.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll was elected on a promise to support communities in the North of Tyne to create and build wealth, then keep that wealth in the region.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll in an allotment

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll