North East region launches its own data hub

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North East Combined Authority have joined forces to launch a brand new website that provides live data on the performance of the North East economy and transport infrastructure.

The North East Data Hub – – is a one-stop-shop for the latest statistics on the regional economy and North East transport trends.

Launched to coincide with the publication of the North East LEP’s first, annual, ‘Our Economy’ report, The North East Data Hub uses live data from the North East transport and economic authorities to give a real-time picture of how the region is performing.

Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East LEP said: “We, along with many of our partners, collect a lot of data about the North East region. By sharing this detailed information we can support residents, businesses, policy makers and other regional bodies to use the data to help grow our economy. 

“The North East Combined Authority, Traffic and Accident Data Unit (TADU), Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) and Nexus are all partners of the project and have helped create the most comprehensive data resource in the North East; one that’s open to all and free to use.”

In addition to providing live data about regional transport and the economy, The North East Data Hub also has a comparison tool, allowing users to analyse data further against a range of different metrics.

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and North East Combined Authority Thematic Lead for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “It’s important we track our progress as a region and the The North East Data Hub allows us to do that.

“We collect a host of data, everything from bus and metro usage to traffic flow and average vehicle speed. This helps us paint a picture of the regional transport system and how it must adapt over time. Combining that with economic data from the North East LEP, we have created a valuable resource for the region.”

The North East Data Hub has been designed to make all regional data available for public view and analysis. It launches on the same day the North East LEP publishes its ‘Our Economy’ report, which tells the story of the North East economy.

As new data becomes available it will be uploaded to the website providing an up-to-date picture of the North East economy and transport activity.

For more information, visit

North East LEP to publish first, annual ‘Our Economy’ report

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) will unveil its first annual ‘Our Economy’ report at Sage Gateshead on Tuesday 6 March 2018.

Presenting an overview of the North East economy and how it is changing over time, the new report will become an important resource for government, policymakers and businesses operating in the region.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP said: “It’s important we track our progress and monitor our economic performance so we position the North East to take advantage of future developments, including those arising from the Government’s recently published Industrial Strategy.

“Our annual review of the North East economy will ensure we remain on track to deliver the refreshed Strategic Economic Plan and reach our aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.”

As well as providing a comprehensive look at the regional economy, ‘Our Economy’ will also look, in-depth, at a topical issue affecting the North East. In 2018 that topic will be ‘the North East in the global economy’.

Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East LEP said: “We’re bringing an expert panel of speakers together from business, education and government to discuss the importance of international relations and what the North East needs to do to build stronger international links going forward.

“Our keynote speaker will be a North East business already trading internationally, and they will share how other regional businesses can follow in their footsteps.”

Our Economy 2018 – with insights into global connections, takes place at Sage Gateshead on Tuesday 6 March from 08:30-11:00. Places are free but must be booked in advance using the Eventbrite form




Deal agreed for new £120m fund for the North East

A £120m fund to support the growth of hundreds of North East businesses hopes to go live early next year after an important milestone was reached today.

The North East Fund – also known as “JEREMIE”  – will offer a range of equity investments and loans to firms to drive local growth and job creation in the North East LEP area.

The final piece of the funding jigsaw was agreed in principle this week by the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) top level Management Committee, after several months of intensive negotiations, following the triggering of Article 50 in March. The £60m loan represents a significant vote of confidence in the North East.

The EIB contribution will form part of a £145m funding package supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (which has responsibility for the European Regional Development Fund in England) and legacy returns from earlier successful funds operating in the region. The seven North East Local Authorities, working through the NECA Leadership Board, have also been fully engaged in bringing the programme to fruition.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) led the project team negotiating for the Region. Although the Fund will invest exclusively in the North East LEP area, it will also sit alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), operating in other LEP areas, to drive business growth right across the Northern Powerhouse.

The North East Fund will provide financial support for over 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs over the life of the fund and delivering a legacy fund of up to £80m for further investment in the region over the next decade.

Helen Golightly, executive director for the North East LEP, said: “Our project team has been working continuously with HM Treasury and the EIB behind the scenes to make this fund a reality. Both have been committed to the new Fund from day one and we are grateful to them for their support. This hugely positive decision, though still subject to contract, is a real coup for the north east and, critically, enables us to retain independence and local control  over how these funds are used.

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of the North East Fund Limited, which will deliver the new programme, added: “This announcement follows months of painstaking work and we are delighted that the European Investment Bank will remain a major long-term investor in the North East. We will now focus on getting money to businesses as soon as we possibly can”


Notes to Editors

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP)covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Our role is to drive economic growth in North East England by supporting businesses and creating more and better jobs for everyone.

Over the next decade, we aim to help the North East create an extra 100,000 jobs. An ambitious target, but one we believe is achievable working with our partners in the public and private sectors.

Our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the North East outlines how we will create more and better jobs including the identification of our areas of strength, referred to as our smart specialisation areas; passenger vehicle manufacturing; subsea and offshore; life sciences and healthcare; and creative, digital, software and technology based services, and our plan to bring investment and funding to the area.

Work areas

The North East LEP works across a number of themes and areas. These are:

  • Funding: The North East LEP competes nationally to bring funding into the region. We are the holder of a multi-million pound pot of money, sourced from various funding streams, which is used to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan priorities.
  • Business Growth: Our Business Growth Programme provides the framework for investment into small and medium-sized companies, opening up access to the finance and support they need to grow and thrive. The LEP is also delivering the ground breaking It simply and efficiently brings together all the available business support information into one digital platform to ensure businesses have all they need to create competitive advantage.
  • Skills: The LEP has created an Employment and Skills Board to give strategic leadership and direction on the skills needed to provide employers with the qualified employees they need. A significant part of our work is to create greater connections between businesses and schools.
  • Enterprise Zones: The North East LEP has helped secure a second Enterprise Zone (EZ) from Government for the region. It is spread across ten sites and companies located there will benefit from business rate discounts, tax savings or enhanced capital allowances.  This was a result of the huge success of the first Enterprise Zone and the significant improvements it brought to the region.
  • Innovation: We are working with organisations across the North East LEP area to secure our place as one of the leading ‘innovation hotspots’ in Europe. We aim to achieve this by building a world class ‘open innovation eco system’ together with partners around the region. Important initiatives include the Super Network (Venture Fest), the Innovation Observatory and the Incubator Support programme.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The project is receiving up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

Innovation, Skills, Funding and Growth Opportunities for North East businesses

Innovation, Skills, Funding and Growth Opportunities for North East businesses.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is calling on the North East business community to come together in January to hear about opportunities to be involved with plans to create 100,000 more and better jobs for the region.

Members of the LEP’s senior management team will outline how businesses can get involved in the various programmes run by the LEP, covering areas such as funding, innovations, skills and business growth.

Helen Golightly, Executive Director at the North East LEP, explained: “This event is open to all businesses and intermediary organisations who want to find out more about our plans to grow the economy here in the North East.

“It’s a chance to ask questions and find out how you, your organisation and your clients could be a part of some of the exciting opportunities for businesses here in the region.”

The North East LEP manages over £500 million of public funding and plays an influencing role in the allocation of regional European funding and the event will include a briefing from the North East LEP Executive Director, Helen Golightly, on the funding landscape.

Innovation, and opportunities for businesses to get involved with innovation events and initiatives across the North East will also be discussed, including an outline of the innovation priorities which are set out in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan – the document which lays out a clear roadmap for creating more and better jobs.

There will also be opportunities for business leaders to find out how they can support the LEP’s work in the skills arena, including building on this year’s national pilot of careers benchmarks in North East schools, and the successful Enterprise Advisers programme, which pairs business leaders with schools’ senior management teams.
Attendees will also find out how they can make use of the North East Growth Hub, a free resource which brings together initiatives for growing businesses and scaleups.
Helen added: “We have one of the fastest growing regional economies outside London and as we enter 2018 we are working hard to continue this growth.

“We’re calling on the business community here in the North East to continue to support the delivery of the region’s Strategic Economic Plan and we also want to make sure that everyone who could benefit from our programmes is doing so.”

North East LEP Chair Andrew Hodgson will lead the event, which takes place on Friday 19 January, from 8.30am to 10.30am, at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

The event is free to attend and is aimed at those in financial, professional and business services in the North East LEP area (Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland).

Register for a free place here.

North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market statistics reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gives her reaction to today’s Regional Labour Market statistics.

“Today’s statistics are positive for the North East.

“Employment in the region has increased by 17,000 over the past quarter and by 28,000 over the year. And while unemployment levels have remained steady over the quarter, they have reduced over the year, with 7,000 fewer people unemployed than a year ago.

“Over the last quarter and year, the North East has seen the greatest improvement in the proportion of its population aged 16 to 64 that are in employment of all the regions and nations in the UK. The region has also seen the largest increase in its economic activity rate, suggesting that increasing employment opportunities in the North East are bringing more people into the labour market.

“These improvements also mean the gap is closing between the North East and elsewhere, a key objective of the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

“The increase of 28,000 more people in work reflects the hard work and ambition of businesses in the region.

“However, whilst the region has made significant progress, levels of unemployment in the North East are still among the highest of the UK regions.

“The North East Strategic Economic Plan sets out a range of actions that aim to deliver more and better jobs for the region and to support residents to access these. Given that we are entering a period of economic uncertainty, the North East LEP will continue to work with partners to help businesses scale and to create more and better jobs.”



In conversation with Chas Howes, former CFO of Superdry

On Thursday we welcome Chas Howes to the North East to be the keynote speaker at the next Growth Hub Live event, Taking Leadership to the Next Level.

Chas is the former CFO of global clothing brand Superdry, joining in 2007 and overseeing a growth in turnover from £41m to £341m. He chaired the project team responsible for listing the business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2010, winning ‘IPO of the Year’ in 2010 and achieving FTSE250 status within one year.

Here, Chas shares some advice for growing businesses here in the North East. To hear more, book a free place at Growth Hub Live: Taking Leadership to the Next Level.

What’s the most memorable moment of your time with Superdry?

Sitting in the London Stock Exchange to see the first trade when we listed. It was at £4.99 against a flotation price of £5.00 – from there the share price went North for about a year, with us ending up as a FTSE250 company. It was the culmination of my career and the result of a lifetime of work – not many CFOs get the chance to list on the LSE, and I won’t get another one!!

What qualities do you think a person, or a team, needs to lead a growing business?

Those who can make decisions in ambiguous circumstances will be the most successful. If it isn’t a contradiction in terms, I’d say make decisions on fact or knowledge-based intuition and also don’t interfere – trust others to do their job. Have respect for other members of the business or team and be prepared to muck in. Provide air-cover for your employees, particularly those that work for you. Recruit, reward and retain the best, think clearly under pressure, and plan and anticipate for things to go wrong – it’s how you recover that matters.

What are some of the most common challenges faced by companies as they grow?

Too much to do and not enough resource of the right quality or quantity. There can be a lack of focus on what is really important – choose the few initiatives that will make a difference and do them really well. Another danger is to be always chasing new business and forgetting the infrastructure back in the office – it is more exciting doing a new deal that implementing a new IT system!

Do the same challenges apply to businesses operating in different sectors?

On balance yes, but they may take a different form depending on the industry – financial services vs retail for example. When growing, the scarcest resource is cash so, whatever the sector, make sure it is really well managed by experts and look for opportunities to generate more cash – e.g, liquidating old stock or leveraging the supply chain / cash cycle.

If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who wants to grow their business, what would that be?

Don’t forget the infrastructure – systems, people, facilities, controls, and particularly IT.

How can companies learn from success stories like that of Superdry?

Everything you do must be with the brand in mind. If an entrepreneur confuses personal and professional objectives, decision making will be flawed.
Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with good people to improve business performance and fill personal skill gaps with the exceptional.
Have the strength of your convictions and never give up – keep the energy and positivity going no matter what the environment throws at you.

Growth Hub Live – Taking Leadership to the Next Level is on Thursday 7 December, 8.30am to 12.30pm. Find out more and book a free place.

Scaleup North East helps ambitious businesses achieve their full potential

A new multimillion pound programme, Scaleup North East, aims to create more than 6,000 new jobs and boost the number of scaleup businesses in the region by 50% by 2024.

Expressions of interest are now open for Scaleup North East, which is being delivered by RTC North as an integral part of the North East Growth Hub. The programme will support businesses with the ambition and drive to achieve a real step change in business growth.

Businesses involved in the programme will be matched with an experienced ‘Scaleup Partner’ to work with them throughout their journey to support and inspire them to achieve their growth goals.

Colin Bell, Business Growth director at the North East LEP, said: “Scaleup North East is an incredibly exciting programme that is aimed at businesses that want to scale, become more profitable and employ more people.”

“This is something totally new. It’s a real step-change for the region that will help us meet our goal of creating more and better jobs and opportunities, as set out in our Strategic Economic Plan.

“Scaleup North East will create and sustain more scaleup businesses and has the potential to make a truly transformational impact on the North East economy.”

Andrew Buckley, Chief Executive at RTC North, said “RTC has been supporting North East businesses for 30 years and is incredibly proud to be delivering the Scaleup North East programme. We are looking forward not only to working with the region’s existing scale up businesses, helping them to overcome any barriers to continued growth, but also to identifying and nurturing the next generation of scale up businesses”.

To join Scaleup North East, businesses must:

  • Be based in the North East LEP area (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham)
  • Be a registered company and have been trading for more than three years
  • Have a minimum of five and less than 250 employees (FTEs)
  • Have an annual turnover of more than £500K and less than €50million
  • Operate in an eligible ERDF sector (not banking, insurance or retail sectors)

But, most importantly, participating businesses must have the ambition to grow.

Businesses that think they could benefit are now being asked to come forward to register their interest and sign up to the launch event on January 26. You can do that here.

Scaleup North East is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The project received a £700,000 grant from the Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

For more information, please visit or call RTC North on 0191 516 4400.





RTC North Contacts:

RTC services are designed to help clients innovate, compete and grow. Specialising in the commercialisation of new products and services, we work with individuals, businesses and the public sector to help create more innovative and vibrant economies.

Founded in 1989, the company has vast experience of helping organisations with all stages of the innovation and IP commercialisation process and uses this expertise to support partners at a UK regional, national and European level.

RTC is a lead UK partner in the worlds’ largest business support network – Enterprise Europe Network – and has established relationships with partners in Asia as well as North and South America.
ERDF: The Scaleup North East project is supported by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The project is receiving up to £2.5m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.


About the North East LEP

The North East LEP is a public, private and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

The £270.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

Local Growth Fund

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing [email protected] in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.



Growing the contribution of the North East pharmaceuticals sector

In conversation with Martin Inskip of First for Pharma

As the UK Government is framing its new Industrial Strategy and is working through the issues involved in leaving the European Union, First for Pharma (FFP) and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), supported by the North East LEP, have worked together on a new report which aims to profile the North East pharmaceutical sector and identify how its economic contribution can be enhanced in the region.

The North East sector was identified as one of the key opportunity areas in the refreshed North East SEP published in March 2017 and was profiled in Sir John Bell’s report to Government in preparation for the planned sector deal.

The new report on the North East’s pharmaceutical sector is based on both analysis of published data and a series of interviews with 12 of the main manufacturing companies in the region, who employ 3500 people between them.

The findings demonstrate the economic importance of the sector nationally and regionally. The report highlights:

• A well-established and diverse sector with different business models, technology ranges and scales of production with an international reputation for business resilience and regulatory reliability.

• A unique profile in UK terms including a number of contract development and contract manufacturers, key supply chain companies and large multinational drug developers. Together, the region’s manufacturers have full capability to develop drug manufacturing processes for clinical development and commercial supply of tableted medicines.

• International ownership including investments from the United States, Japan and India, as well as from the UK.

• A GVA contribution to the UK estimated to be between £0.73 billion and £1.28 billion annually, with an average of 86% of their products being exported with 64% of exports going to the United States.

• For the region, the sector employs between 4,300 and 5,300 people and contributes £450-£790 million to the region’s Gross Value Added (GVA). Including indirect and induced effects, the North East pharmaceutical manufacturing industry supports between 18,800 and 23,500 jobs across the UK and adds £0.73-£1.28 billion to the UK economy.

• Almost 2000 jobs are in high value research or manufacturing roles with the largest cohort aged between 31 and 50 (49%). The quality and stability of the employees in the local labour force is one of the North East’s competitive advantages and the size and sector stability means there are opportunities to build careers in the region. The sector is growing and expecting to recruit additional jobs to its current manufacturing and research workforce this financial year (2017-2018).

The research highlights a number of opportunities and challenges, including strengthening the profile, performance and contribution of the sector through innovation investment and skills, and stimulating more employment in the region through investment and through the supply chain and logistics. It also highlights the importance of a good outcome to the Brexit discussions, where the regulatory regime is seen as crucial and regulatory disruption seen as a significant threat.

The report identifies the following recommendations:

• Supply chain strategy: Development of a supply chain and logistics strategy: work should be undertaken to understand opportunities to strengthen the supply chain in the region and identify opportunities for improving the logistics support, including taking advantage of the North East’s growing digital capabilities.

 Innovation: work to foster the following innovation capabilities in the North East should include ultra-high potency manufacturing; the application of continuous manufacturing for drug manufacturers and smart pharmaceutical delivery including packaging, sensing and new formulations as well as process developments including application of digital, robotic and low carbon technologies.

• Skills: the sector should work with the North East LEP to develop a clearer analysis of the current skills gaps, potential future needs and inform the content of these initiatives.

• Regulatory Environment: The continuing importance of the regulatory environment should be promoted and concerns about the impact of the vote to leave the European Union should be communicated during the current period of consultation on the negotiations.

• Co-ordination: Co-ordination within the sector and with other parts of North East industry should be enhanced to take these recommendations forward regionally and nationally.

Download or read a copy of the full report here.

The triumphs and challenges of growing a multi-million pound brand

Growth Hub Live event

Thursday 7 December, 8.30am – 12.30pm

The former Chief Financial Officer of clothing brand Superdry will be sharing the triumphs and challenges that a business can face as it grows from a small brand to a global name, at a free event in December.

Chas Howes joined Superdry in 2007 and oversaw a growth in turnover from £41m to £314m in 2012.

He chaired the project team responsible for listing the business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2010, winning ‘IPO of the Year’ in 2010 and achieving FTSE250 status within one year.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, said: “Chas Howes will be sharing his knowledge and experience with North East businesses at our next Growth Hub Live event on 7 December.

“We’re inviting businesses leaders who have the ambition to take their business to the next level to come and hear from Chas, who will give an insight into the reality of leading a multi-million pound brand through a period of rapid growth and the highs and lows that come with that.”

Howes will be the keynote speaker at the Growth Hub Live event, which takes place on Thursday 7 December from 8.30am to 12.30pm at Sage Gateshead.

Hosted by North East Growth Board member and entrepreneur Ammar Mirza, the event will address the challenges that business leaders can face when taking a company to the next level of growth. There will be a panel of representatives from North East businesses including Sue Ormerod from Nigel Wright and Nigel Mills, Chair of Lakeland Distillery and the Entrepreneurs Forums, who will tackle some of the issues commonly faced by growing enterprises.

The event is free to attend and is aimed at businesses which have five or more employees and a current turnover of at least £500k per annum.

Register for your free place at the Growth Hub Live event here.