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Business & Economy

Virtual event showcases North East to Indian businesses looking to establish UK base

Working closely with the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai, Invest Newcastle has virtually showcased our region to tech companies looking to trade and invest in the UK market.

The British Deputy High Commissioner, who represents the UK Government in Chennai visited Newcastle in early 2020 and he was impressed by the life sciences, digital technology, and renewable energy sectors in the region. So much so, he committed to bringing a delegation of businesses as part of their responsibility to encourage FDI (foreign direct investment) into the UK.

In 2019-20, India became the UK’s second-largest source of FDI with 120 companies investing or expanding in the UK, total investment of more than £1.4 billion and creating more than 5400 new jobs.

Despite not being able to show off tech strengths in person, a virtual event took place where almost 30 businesses signed up to new explore opportunities, why the region is a leading business destination and the support available to enter the UK market.

Invest Newcastle brought together a range of speakers who gave an overview of the region’s assets, capabilities and strengths in data, immersive technologies and the Fintech space.

Panelists included Oliver Ballhatchet, Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Jen Hartley, director from Invest Newcastle, Steve Caughey, director, UK National Innovation Centre for Data, Alex Cook, innovation manager, PROTO and Dawn Dunn, innovation manager, Dynamo North East.

The Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai welcomed delegates and gave an overview of the UK tech sector, which is growing at a faster pace than China and the US and six times faster than any other industry.  

Jen Hartley gave an overview of our assets, networks, ability to attract and retain top talent and the quality of life in the North East.

Steve Caughey spoke about how we are building an entire ecosystem around data, the North East’s world-class facilities on Newcastle Helix, making an impact through innovation and supporting businesses to tackle immediate problems as well as gaining insight and developing new skills through data.

Dawn Dunn talked about the Fintech sector, some of the leading brands we have in the region, our strong business support network and how Dynamo’s dedicated Fintech cluster in the North of England is facilitating growth through innovation, skills and collaboration.

Alex Cook, spoke about our region as one of the first adopters of immersive technology and how PROTO, Europe’s first R&D Centre of Excellence for Emerging Technology is transforming high potential ideas into new products and services.

Oliver Ballhatchet said:Newcastle is a great city with a positive, collaborative and welcoming vibe. This virtual event was a fantastic way to showcase everything they have to offer, giving international investors one of the warmest welcomes in the UK. I am excited about the potential of this event in opening doors for further collaboration between India and Newcastle.”

Jen Hartley added: “This was an opportunity to showcase Newcastle within a UK context to a ready-made audience actively considering expansion in the UK or Europe. We love showing off our great city to potential investors and last year we welcomed many high-profile leaders and businesses from across the world, hosting more than 30 inward investment visits. Due to the current environment, we can’t do this in person anymore, but this virtual event was a great way to help businesses feel part of our network and understand our offer. Our city has such a strong tech offering and with our cluster so willing to collaborate on webinars that showcase the area, I am sure it will continue to go from strength to strength and attract more international investors.”