United front for business festival

SEVEN North East authorities, with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, are coming together to showcase all that the region has to offer at the UK’s premier international business event later this month.

Members of the North East Combined Authority (NECA) – made up of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils – are uniting with the North East LEP to provide a single gateway for investors looking to work with the region – Invest North East England – and will be presenting the North East’s offer at the International Festival for Business (IFB) in Liverpool.

Invest North East England will make it easier for developers and enterprises interested in setting up in the area to get the support they need to do business here.  Providing a one-stop-shop for inward investment in the North East, the service will allow the seven local authorities to present one shared image of the region, playing to the area’s strengths in manufacturing and engineering; life sciences and healthcare; software and technology; subsea oil and gas, new and renewable energy; and professional, financial and business services.  The authorities will attend the IFB on July 21 and 22, showcasing the region at Made in the UK, a series of conferences that focus on the manufacturing sector with anticipated attendance by developers and senior business people from the UK and overseas.

Chair of the North East Combined Authority, Councillor Simon Henig, said the event represented a significant step forward for the combined authority, and was a clear statement of the seven local authorities’ strengthening partnership.

He said: “We believe strongly that the sum of what we offer is greater than the parts, and attending this event together is a real statement of intent for us.  It is about showing the world what we have to offer in the North East, with one shared voice and a set of common strengths.

“The event is likely to be very well attended from people across the country and indeed, from overseas, so it is a great chance to showcase our region and start conversations with people who are looking for a place to do business.”

Cllr Paul Watson, Economic Development and Regeneration lead at the combined authority, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to make our case for the North East and what we have to offer as a region to potential investors.  The North East has all of the assets and attributes to make a compelling case to investors and organisations looking to expand their business here.

“The attendance of the North East Combined Authority at an event like the International Festival for Business provides an opportunity to clearly articulate our offer to a national and international audience, and I am sure we will all benefit greatly from being part of this event.”

Paul Woolston Chair of the North East LEP said: “The North East has a great story to tell – alongside an excellent workforce and blossoming private sector, we have record levels of productivity growth, employment and economic growth as well as being the only region to have a consistent positive trade balance.   The IFB is a great opportunity to showcase this to investors. By coming together to exhibit as Invest North East we present a strong and unified voice for the area and it is an example of how the North East is working in partnership to bring investment to the area.”

The International Festival for Business is the largest global concentration of business events during 2014, and is running over 50 days across seven weeks in June and July.  The event will attract business delegates and trade intermediaries from around the world and is a key part of the government’s target of rebalancing the economy and achieving its export and investment objectives.  As well as attending this event, the authorities will come together again to attend MIPIM UK, a real estate and property show that will be held in London in October

The North East Combined Authority got the green light in April, a move that councils believe will give them a stronger voice when it comes to attracting jobs and investment to the region.