Our Economy 2019: What makes the North East competitive?

This morning (10th May 2019) we attended the launch of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Our Economy 2019’ report at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle.

Business leaders from across the North East came together to receive an update on the performance of the North East economy and the progress made in delivering the Strategic Economic Plan since it’s launch in 2014.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP welcomed guests by showing their powerful new video “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” which explains the ambitions behind the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan – a blueprint for creating 100,000 more and better jobs in our region by 2024.

The North East LEP’s Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland then gave a thought provoking account of what makes the North East competitive, warning about the dangers of making incorrect and negative assumptions about the North East economy and how such assumptions influence decision making.

“We need to build on positives and start telling a better story of what the North East has to offer.”

Victoria went on to summarise some of the areas where the North East is outperforming England (excl. London), such as exports, new jobs and foreign direct investment.

The next speaker, Richie Ramsden, Head of Data Science – Innovation Incubator at AkzoNobel shared that the company has invested over £150m into the North East over the past eight years, including their ‘Paint the Future’ initiative which is a global start-up challenge ran from the North East.

Richie, who is not originally from the North East, expressed his passion for the region not only as a place for businesses to invest and innovate, but for its culture and environment.

“You’re never further than 30 minutes away from somewhere great!”

The final speaker was Professor Jane Robinson, Dean of Engagement and Place at Newcastle University who took to the stage to talk about how our North East universities contribute to the region’s competitiveness.

“Competitiveness and our distinction as a place is about people, skills, and human capital is a huge asset for us.”

She shared insight into the growth in higher education spin-outs from all four North East universities via the Northern Accelerator, a collaboration focused on translating research into commercial application for SME’s.

Thank you so much to Andrew, the team at the North East LEP and all speakers for a thought provoking and inspirational morning, reminding us that England is one of the most competitive nations in the world, and the North East economy is continuing to grow.

> Click here to access the full ‘Our Economy 2019’ report via the North East LEP website.