Burning Issue: How does the Northern Powerhouse agenda impact your business or organisation?

Sarah Stewart (pictured)

Chief executive
NewcastleGateshead Initiative

NGI is already playing a key role in the Northern Powerhouse agenda – bringing it into action through the Northern Tourism Growth Fund. As a lead partner in this £10-million Government-funded programme, we’ve been working closely with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and colleagues right across the North of England for the past year to promote the region in key international markets and maximise the growth potential for tourism.
Activity is largely focused on targeted marketing and promotion and aims to deliver £177 million of additional spend from international visitors and a real step change in collaboration between cities, regions and destinations across the North.
We’re pleased to be playing an active role in helping to realise this ambition, whilst also securing significant positive profile and economic benefits for NewcastleGateshead and the wider North East.

Nickie Gott
Managing director
She’s Gott It!

The business community in the North East has an interesting time ahead with the plans for the Northern Powerhouse. Giving greater powers to our region must serve to help and support small businesses across all sectors.
Greater significance and support is often placed in certain sectors; our business is a creative one and I truly hope that this sector is one that is also high on the agenda.
Better transport links and access to finance are two areas we will benefit from but I believe that the creative industries must not be forgotten or underrepresented in the drive to see growth in other more prioritised areas.

Ivan Jepson
Director of business development
Gateshead College

Strong links with industry will become even more important and Gateshead College will continue to build on its networks to design training programmes that are closely aligned to business needs.
A wider network between education providers, business and key support agencies also can’t be ignored if we’re to harness our collective strength to be truly competitive, attract investment, create jobs and retain talent in our region.
Our responsibility to shape a talented workforce for the future will come even more into focus, developing not only the professional expertise and skills employers demand, but also nurturing a set of softer, transferable skills of communication, critical thinking and commercial awareness, so our young people are equipped to succeed.

Elaine Warburton
CEO and co-founder

QuantuMDx

The Northern Powerhouse will help to change the nation’s perception of the North: it’s a vibrant, energetic and beautiful area. This will help our universities attract the highest class of students. As a northern business it is our responsibility to showcase our boundless growth and innovation, giving northern graduates an undeniable reason to stay.
Rebalancing the North-South economic disproportion will make it easier for businesses to access crucial funding. For QuantuMDx this will mean less travelling and more time where it matters, in our laboratories, innovating, creating and making a difference where it matters.
Strategically, businesses in the North also need to be creating leading international partnerships with growing economies around the world. QuantuMDx is already doing this with partners such as the Gates Foundation and Yale and Harvard Universities along with collaborators in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Our partners contribute to the local economy through jobs and raising the profile of biotech within the region.

Neville Bearpark
Corporate finance partner
UNW

Ideally the Northern Powerhouse will support North East businesses by ensuring continuity of funding to the LEPs and Combined Authorities for proven grant schemes like Let’s Grow, while finding replacements for initiatives like the now closed Growth Accelerator programme and Manufacturing Advisory Service. How far the Northern Powerhouse will stretch beyond the M62 corridor is yet to be seen – this will be a major lost opportunity for the North East if the focus falls south of our region.

Rob Charlton
CEO
Space Group

The Northern Powerhouse agenda does help to highlight some of the challenges in the North and ensures these issues are on Westminster’s radar. Everything we do at Space Group is linked to investment in buildings and the environment. The Northern Powerhouse message can help confidence and provide additional Government support.
However, as a business, we are realistic and the ‘Powerhouse’ is, in large part, a Government marketing campaign. We have four offices on the east side of the Powerhouse and with the epicentre in Manchester, these offices are a long way from the action potentially.

William Baker Baker
Head of office (Newcastle)
Brewin Dolphin

We manage money for entrepreneurs, executives and their families, employing nearly 400 people here at our office in Newcastle. As the largest wealth manager in the region, our success is very much dependent on the people of the North East enjoying success in their own lives.
With this in mind, we see the further development of the Northern Powerhouse as a very positive and important initiative – it has the potential to create an environment that nurtures and drives future business success. Projects such as the Stephenson Quarter and Science Central have already demonstrated how increased investment in the area can reap benefits, and we’d support more of these projects across the length and breadth of the region.

Chris McDonald
CEO
Materials Processing Institute

The Northern Powerhouse clearly has the opportunity to significantly boost the prospects in the regions where it is focused with inward economic investment and improvements to infrastructure such as transport links between major Northern cities.
In doing so, however, the Northern Powerhouse initiative needs to make sure it benefits from the expertise and skills on offer in the regions beyond the named cities.
The Materials Processing Institute, for example, has been supporting industry for many years to develop and commercialise technology and we are very keen to ensure we too play an active role and are able to assist industry and commerce throughout the entire northern region, supported by this initiative.

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