As many of you will know, it’s now – amazingly – 18 months since we revamped the magazine, providing it with not just a new look, but a fresh editorial direction. The eagle-eyed among you, though, will also know the redesign included the shedding of set themes for each issue. Central to the thinking behind this was a desire to further broaden our coverage, allowing us to be reactive and, more importantly, increasingly proactive, around the stories and topics that matter.
This month, however, we’ve performed a little about-turn. In a world increasingly focused on sustainability, and the need to rewrite long-held practices and cultures for environmental, social and economic benefit, this issue concentrates predominantly upon one area – building for the future. Across the following pages, you’ll see a number of features that highlight the changing landscape, and how our region stands ready to play its part in a seismic revolution.
From the generations of pitmen, shipbuilders and steel workers that helped build the world, to the pioneers who spawned the rail revolution, the North East has quite the track record when it comes to standing at the vanguard of progress. The scene today is no different, with our region at the forefront of digital change and the Government’s ‘green industrial revolution’, the latter thanks – in no small part – to headline-grabbing investments around vehicle battery production, offshore wind, hydrogen power and carbon capture and storage. Ultimately, we’re good at what we do here, and we should never stop celebrating that fact. Indeed, this magazine will never tire
of championing our great businesses and individuals, for doing so fosters a progressive environment that in turn nurtures fresh breakthroughs, spurs more collaboration and inspires greater innovation.
It’s a new year, but some things never change. As 2022 began, the BBC was rolling out yet another series of The Apprentice, this one introduced by a rather weird trailer painting its host as a rebooted robot with a dodgy trigger finger. I know the pandemic has changed us all in some way, but still…
Anyway, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that by now, with the many past winners of the show – this latest run is series 16 – Lord Sugar would be retired from such endeavours and making the most of his past investments. Alas, no. Here we are again. The outfits, the suitcases, the boasts, the blames and counter blames when tasks inevitably go awry. Don’t get me wrong. Across the years, a fair few candidates have demonstrated some strong entrepreneurial acumen – it hasn’t all been coloured-in drawings on a business plan and brown toothbrushes resembling you-know-what… (for the latter, see earlier this series).
And this edition of the magazine channels the former, with our three feature interviews focusing on individuals making great strides in the business world.
Hello and welcome to this edition of North East Times – the first of a year that, like the previous two, promises nothing if not great uncertainty.
We ended 2021 wrestling with the growing threat of the Omicron COVID-19 strain, and we pick up 2022 with the spectre of coronavirus still haunting our everyday routines.
At this juncture, nobody can predict what the future – even in the very short-term – holds with any great authority.
However, what we can say with conviction here at North East Times, is that we will continue doing what we do best.
That means acting as the voice of – and for – the North East business community, championing our region and its many talented individuals and progressive companies, campaigning for further Government support to maximise our potential, and creating a platform for informed debate and discussion.
And we start right here in this issue.
So here we are, then. The last knockings of 2021. And we arrive, just like 12 months previously, with the pandemic’s shadow continuing to hang over us.
But rather than look back, we wanted this edition to focus on the future, to the great potential held by new investments, developments and commitments that promise to deliver fresh confidence to our region.
Our cover story epitomises that attitude. Joanne Leng, who will officially become chief executive at Durham- based energy sector business development organisation NOF next month, tells us about the critical role our region can play in the Government’s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. With the need to act on climate change exacerbated by the recent COP-26 summit, Joanne talks about the proactive work NOF is doing – and has done for years – to help firms and their supply chains transition to new energy futures.
As another year heads towards its conclusion, Steven Hugill looks back on 12 months of change for this publication, as well as investments that provide significant potential for the region’s future. The theme of investment is covered by Legal & General’s Nigel Wilson, who details the firm’s multimillion-pound support for developments across Newcastle and Sunderland.
From the former’s flagship £350 million Helix science and technology hub, to the latter’s rebirth of the Vaux brewery site, Legal & General is playing a crucial role in catalysing job creation while laying a platform for wider promotion of the North East as a business focal point.
It’s rather apt this month’s edition follows so soon after the Autumn Equinox, for defined change is a theme that runs throughout the magazine.
Just like the environment transitioning around us, as summer warmth gives way to cooler days, and lush greens turn to orange and brown, the North East business landscape is going through its own myriad of shifts.
One of the most noticeable has come at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, where John McCabe has taken on the mantle of chief executive from James Ramsbotham.
His departure represents a major loss for the business membership organisation. Yet in John, it has found a perfect successor.
Holidays are all about going to new countries, touring their sights and exploring their cultures, customs and cuisines. Often, these experiences stimulate new learning, reflections and ultimately philosophies, which can lead to fresh journeys that build businesses and turn organisations into household names. Chloë Clover and Lou Tonner know all about such adventures. Their present journey actually began with an ending; the pair left the North East on one-way tickets to Australia, later moving on to Far East Asia. However, their trip ultimately brought them back again, with work for tourist businesses and attractions they’d encountered on their travels catalysing the creation of Middlesbrough-based video marketing company Wander Films. Chloë was earlier this year flagged on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list as a talent to watch across future years.
When Rebecca Welch became the English Football League’s first female referee in April, the media interest around her appointment arguably overshadowed the game she officiated – Harrogate Town versus Port Vale. And while the coverage was positive, it got me thinking at the time that it perhaps delivered more questions than answers on gender division and equality. Was the reaction to her appointment a sign of how far we have come, and that more glass ceilings – the male-dominated world of football a particularly difficult one to break – are finally being shattered? Or was it instead proof that there remains some way to go before a woman doing a ‘man’s job’ can do so without attracting unnecessary headlines? For Rebecca’s part, she admits to not seeing herself as a trailblazer, and that the word meant little if nothing to her before she received the Football League call.
Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are ahead of the curve. Every entrepreneur has a different story to tell, be it their product or service, the size of their venture or the funding streams that catalysed their dream. Having spotted a gap in the market for womens’ activewear while holidaying in Ibiza, the sisters’ three- year-old company YANA Active is building an increasing commercial presence, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Atul Malhotra’s story is at the other end of the spectrum yet is no less enduring. The son of Meenu Malhotra, who moved from India to Newcastle as a teenager and later founded property, leisure and care sector operator Malhotra Group, Atul’s tale highlights the fortitude needed to not only gain a foothold in the marketplace but navigate further stepping stones to success.
A united front can deliver tangible difference.
We need look no further than the COVID-19 pandemic – if indeed we’ve looked anywhere else over the past year – to see the impact unity can bring, from ensuring the welfare of loved ones to keeping the commercial environment moving.
And it’s a theme reflected in our cover story with Fenwick chief executive John Edgar.
Walk around the firm’s Newcastle department store and you quickly realise not a thing stands out of place.
Such meticulousness is, of course, no accident, but the result of a close-knit team’s endeavours to re-launch the outlet following its imposed trading hiatus.
John champions their efforts, while also revealing some exciting plans for the company’s Northumberland Street base.
Wiith more than a year having now passed since the UK first entered COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the landscape is beginning – thankfully – to show signs of positivity. The vaccine rollout is delivering new energy to a nation left exhausted by remote working, home schooling and the long-term shutdown of leisure activities – not to mention the stresses of furlough and job losses – as the country enters the first days of spring. It puts me in mind of a phrase that has really entered parlance during the last 12 months – ‘hitting the reset button’. Coined to refer to the changes both companies and individuals have undergone as a result of the pandemic, be they operational activities or new personal goals, it feels like, as a country, we’re ready to press the plunger and engage with 2021 in a way we could never do with 2020.
At North East Times are all about championing the region’s innovative and game-changing spirit. Such a philosophy has always been – and will remain – the bedrock of our magazine, and this month’s edition is no different, turning the focus to the organisations and people making a crucial impact not just to the North East, but to national and international markets too. They include Billingham’s FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, which gained headlines aplenty last month for its work with Novovax to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine that could inoculate tens of millions of people. Sticking with the theme of innovation, we also focus on CellulaREvolution, the Newcastle Helix-based firm behind work on cultured meat technology that is primed to revolutionise the food industry and dinner tables.
This month we speak to Natalie Ibu, Northern Stage’s new artistic director and joint chief executive, and learn how the Newcastle-based theatre company is shifting with the times digitally to continue entertaining audiences. Staying on the theme of alternative methods to deliver an accustomed service, we mark National Apprenticeship Week – by highlighting how, despite changes to learning in the classroom and on site, education providers and companies are still nurturing the next generation. Taking that point further, we speak to Bill Scott, co-founder of Wilton Universal Group, who tells us why an apprenticeship leaves you set for life. We also look at change in the automotive sector and the growing momentum behind a new green revolution, which is being led in no small part by Consett-based Elmtronics.
This month’s magazine looks at opportunities for the region’s business community and highlights significant investment deals and development plans that all stand ready to make a decisive impression on the North East. We speak to Stephen Waddington, a man with extensive media and communications sector experience, to track his career journey and look further into why 2021 represents a good time for businesses to reset and thrive. Tackling the theme of growth, we speak to Coatsink chief executive and co-founder Tom Beardsmore. And, we also champion the spirit, drive and innovation of the region’s businesspeople in our Impact List, which acknowledges the determination of individuals to adapt and thrive despite such unprecedented times. And much more!
To quote the great Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’. And I don’t just mean this publication and its recent relaunch. All around us, the world we once knew continues to evolve and flex against the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we end 2020 and look towards a new year, we do so in the knowledge that life and business may well never be quite the same again. It is perhaps fitting then, that the theme of change flows throughout this month’s edition. We look at the pandemic’s effect on our mental health and wellbeing. Taking a lead from Discova’s Lizzy Hodcroft – our cover star who says coronavirus has forced us to recalibrate how we understand ourselves – we look at measures currently in place to provide support and assess the steps being taken to bolster that provision.
2020 has been an incredibly uncertain year for the North East business community. It should therefore come as no surprise that it’s also been challenging for us here at North East Times. Overnight, the coronavirus pandemic turned our business model on its head and as a team we’ve spent the last eight months planning how to right the course and deliver a magazine that is attuned to the different times we find ourselves in. COVID-19 has called for us to reinvent ourselves and reassess our strategy, which is why now, North East Times has a different look, feel and read to the product you’ve come to know.
This month, we look to celebrate one of the region’s strongest sectors – professional services. Our cover star is former lawyer, Lucy Winskell, who was recently appointed to one of the most high-profile non-executive roles in the region – chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Taking up the reins at this time promises to present a unique set of challenges and Lucy will have to draw on all her experience of economic growth and regeneration – but was full of fighting talk when she spoke to me a few weeks into her tenure.
In direct response to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the solution to the UK’s economic recovery is to “build, build, build” and to ‘build back better’, we decided to bring forward our annual Building the Future issue to September to explore how this strategy will impact the North East. Our cover star this month is Gradon Architecture’s Tanja Smith, who tells North East Times about her truly international career, including two years spent in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar establishing an architectural studio.
Welcome to the Money Issue. For five years, we have been bringing our readers the Money Issue, a special edition of North East Times that reflects the journey of making, growing and sharing wealth.
Usually, we feature a successful businessperson and philanthropist who perfectly personifies this wealth journey. But, mindful of the extraordinary challenges businesses and organisations are currently facing, we decided to do things a little differently this year. Instead of focusing on one person’s story, we’ve split the wealth journey into three core interviews. For the ‘make’ element, we speak to Steve Deutsch, chief executive of the forthcoming Great British Bank. We ask him about the process of setting up a North East-based challenger bank and who it is set to benefit.
Welcome to the health and life sciences issue, the third edition the team has produced remotely from our respective homes. It’s been a challenging period for us all, but I couldn’t be prouder of the dedication and hard work that’s been shown.
Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world and our hearts go out to everyone whose health, livelihoods and families have been affected by this cruel pandemic. Again, we thank all the key workers and frontline staff who continue to work tirelessly to support us through these extremely difficult times. As we start to take our first tentative steps out of lockdown, the full extent of the economic damage caused by coronavirus is revealing itself on an almost daily basis. Every sector has been negatively affected by this pandemic and the recovery effort promises to be epic as we adjust to the ‘new normal’.
This May, North East Times is dedicating its on topic supplement to Sunderland and Wearside. Commercial opportunities are available to complement the independent editorial written by our team of journalists. Ambitious plans to regenerate, develop and grow Sunderland’s economy are well underway.
Led by Sunderland Council, the ten-year city plan is highly focussed on improving growth, prosperity and accelerating job creation. £200 million has been allocated for infrastructure investment alone.
Grade 1 office space at The Beam, the technology hub at Sunderland Software City and IAMP (International Advanced Manufacturing Park) demonstrate the breadth and depth of the determination to improve Sunderland as a place for business. New projects are being planned to enhance the prosperity of the city further.
Welcome to an edition of North East Times that the team and I felt was the only one we could produce at this time – The Disrupted Issue. Our aim was simple; to provide a platform for individuals, companies and organisations to share their news and views that sum up the unprecedented upheaval we’re experiencing as a result of the worst crisis for generations. In the following pages of this issue, you can read about the different ways local businesses and organisations are tackling the pandemic alongside messages from individuals who represent key workers and local communities.
We fully recognise the enormous financial toll coronavirus is making on local businesses and organisations, but we also see how the North East community is rising to the challenge of COVID-19 in some ingenious ways. Most businesses successfully implemented remote working practices immediately after lockdown. Others have pivoted their entire operations to help produce much-needed PPE for the NHS.
It’s safe to say we finished this issue in a world very different from the one we began it in only a few weeks ago. The impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been as colossal as it has been rapid. My thoughts are with those in the NHS and the other front-line staff who are going above and beyond to keep us as safe and secure as possible. Our April magazine focuses on investment in the North East, something that is set to become more vital in the future. You can read about individuals, businesses and organisations who are investing in our region – bringing jobs, innovation, prosperity and recognition – as well as gaining an insight into the early support and perspectives around the coronavirus outbreak.
Hotspot – Dynamo publishes its third Hotspot in partnership with North East Times to showcase the region’s growing IT and digital industry. Read the latest activity in sub-sectors, including shared service centres, government technology, cyber security and skills, plus much, much more.
The NewcastleGateshead Conferences, Events and Accommodation Guide is the only piece of print in the North East of England that pulls together all the hotels, venues and service suppliers, and actively promotes them to the events industry.It is the only publication that targets regional, national and international conference organisers, meeting planners and venue-finding agents. It is the primary piece of sales collateral used by the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, central to all marketing and sales activity.
Our cover story this month features the Digital Steering Group that has been created to support the delivery of the North East LEP’s Digital for Growth strategy. Though we’re still in the early days of the strategy’s – and the group’s – inception, we ask Laura Partridge, Stuart Lynn, Alison Shaw, Herb Kim, Deni Chambers, Michelle Rainbow, Pete Daykin and Richard Baker how we can best maximise opportunities for digital growth and investment in the region. We also speak to banking expert Craig Iley, founder and director at B-North about a career that has spanned traditional to challenger banking. And we reveal how students at Northumbria University are helping SMEs combat cyber-attacks.
This month’s on topic supplement also explores the economic development of County Durham in recent years and focuses on some of its strengths and opportunities.
In this issue, we shine a light on the many and diverse ways in which education providers and businesses are combining to address skills gaps in our region. Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 2020 (February 3-7), we look at how apprenticeships have changed over the years.
Our cover story this month focuses on the rise of North Shoring – the trend of organisations moving some or all of their operations away from the over-heating economy of London. We look at some of the professional services firms that have already chosen to North Shore and explore the opportunities for more to come to the North East. Deb Sharratt also reflects on the role professional qualifications are making to the public relations industry, while Dean Turner and Aidan Dunstan from global investment bank, UBS, make their economic predictions for this year and beyond.
Our second Impact Issue highlights those who have made an indelible mark across five categories – financial, innovation, global, regional and profile.
Thank you to everyone who made their nominations this autumn. It made the judging process very difficult – but it also highlighted the brilliantly work people and companies have achieved over the last 12 months, despite ongoing uncertainty.
Congratulations go to all our shortlisted nominees, and our winners – Jen Hartley (Invest Newcastle), Will Dracup (Biosignatures Ltd), Nick Oates (Quanta), Patricia Alexander (Shared Interest Society) and Paul Lancaster (Plan Digital UK). All of you have demonstrated a remarkable impact this year.
Extra praise goes to Jen Hartley, who is named our Outstanding Impact Award Winner 2019.
This month we reflect on the diverse and thriving built environment sector in the North East. Now in its third year, our The Building the Future issue looks at the local individuals and organisations that are making serious waves in the industry across the globe.
Our cover story is Sir Terry Farrell, who grew up and studied in Newcastle and is now considered one of the UK’s most renowned architects and urban planners. We visited Sir Terry at his London home last month where he spoke passionately about his career and his strong links to Newcastle University.
Welcome to your regional Legal 500 review, published by North East Times.
Highlighting the success and achievements of firms and individuals across the North East, the study provides an in-depth insight into the region’s thriving legal sector.
Listing firms and lawyers through a tiered ranking system, the annual Legal 500 independent review is a revered industry benchmark that helps clients make informed decisions when seeking legal services.
We publish a specialist supplement focused on how local education establishments and training companies nurture skills for future success. We consider the full educational spectrum – from primary and secondary to further education colleges, universities and private training providers – and ask how organisations equip their students with the right tools to fulfil the demands of a modern workplace.
North East Times returns with its fourth Women’s Issue. As editor, I believe it’s important to produce this annual issue, shining a light on some of the amazing women who are achieving great things in our region – spanning all levels and sectors. The research into the gender pay gap and the number of women on boards and in senior positions show inequalities based on gender, do exist in the workplace. Improvements are being made but progress is slow. I therefore think it’s important to raise the profile of local women who are pushing the boundaries of their sectors – to help inspire everyone.
In this issue, North East Times has produced a specialist supplement focusing on Northumberland promoting what the region can offer, as many businesses and development agencies regionally, nationally and internationally remain unaware of the opportunities. We look at offshore wind and energy, health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, tourism and the international recognition as a tourism attraction, the creative industries and agri-tech and rural scale up.
Our cover story investigates why, despite seven of England’s squad at this year’s Women’s World Cup hailing from the North East, there is a current lack of commitment for women’s football in the region. Hopefully, the recognition of Steph Houghton et al in France this year will help revive support, from grassroots to professional level, and the future generation of female footie stars will comprise a strong North East showing.
In this issue, North East Times has produced a specialist supplement focusing on the region’s thriving life sciences and healthcare sectors. We look at the world-class organisations and businesses, based in the North East, which are pioneering new technologies and innovative ideas. We also examine the unique environment to develop the skills, physical assets, technical capabilities and networks that are contributing to life-changing products and health initiatives.
Our cover story is someone who personifies this journey. Former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Fiona Cruickshank has carved out an incredible career as a pharmacist, business owner, angel investor and philanthropist. But, as you can read in this issue, she’s never had a grand plan, instead preferring to “bimble along.” Other interviews include Andrew Haigh, chief executive of Newcastle Building Society, who tells us how the mutual is looking to appeal to everyone by combining digital innovation with new branch openings.
This month, we look at how the North East makes connections –whether physically, digitally, politically or economically. We have spoken to transport and infrastructure experts and those involved in initiatives to drive better digital connectivity in our region, as well as asking how North East businesses link with each other, with customers, with education and with other public sector organisations. Our cover this month is Jamie Driscoll, the new North of Tyne Mayor who was elected on May 2. We ask the Labour mayor about some of his policies and how he plans to connect with the region’s business community.
This month, we look at the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector. As a region, we have a strong manufacturing heritage. We led the world in previous industrial revolutions and with what I’ve learnt from the experts who have contributed to this issue, it’s clear that –with the right combination of businesses, skills and infrastructure in place – we have the potential to be at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution too.
Our popular Tech Issue returns for its fourth year to again celebrate the strengths of our tech and digital sector. Inside you’ll find profiles and advice from some of the most influential and promising tech talent based in the North East. Among them is Professor Sue Black who credits technology and education as transforming her and her three children’s lives. Meanwhile, our cover star is Bruce Daisley – the lead of Twitter across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ok, so he’s not from the region or based here, but we couldn’t resist catching up with the tech influencer when he travelled to Newcastle last month to speak at local schools and the Dynamo Annual Dinner.
Newcastle Startup Week is an annual five-day (and night) festival that takes place in multiple venues across Newcastle and Gateshead in May. Each day has a different theme covering ‘Inspiration’, ‘Getting Started’, ‘Funding & Finance’, ‘Scaleup’ and ‘Keep Going or Pivot?’ By bringing all the best help and advice in one place, research shows we’re inspiring, motivating, encouraging and supporting more people to start or grow their business in the North East. Our 2017 and 2018 events both attracted more than 600 delegates from across the UK, Europe, USA and Asia and this year we’re on target to make our third event on May 13-17 even bigger.
Hotspot – showcasing all the region has to offer across sectors including: shared service centres, advanced manufacturing and automotive, government, cyber security and finance & higher education
This issue was supposed to be our Brexit Issue, providing the chance for our writers and advertisers to reflect on the withdrawal agreement the UK had secured before leaving the EU on the 29th of the month. But with negotiations in chaos and political infighting rife, garnering opinion and predictions about what’s going to happen this month and beyond have been near impossible – hence our refocus to the International Issue.
Our February edition addresses some of the issues around the much-debated subject of skills.
Our cover story is the celebrated learning and education visionary – Professor Sugata Mitra – who won the $1 million TED Prize in 2013 for his Hole-in-the-Wall experiment.
Speaking to North East Times from his Indian base, the professor of education technology at Newcastle University, reveals how he has used his prize money to deliver supported self-organised learning environments around the world via his School in the Cloud.
For the first issue of 2019, North East Times takes a look at the professional services sector. We’ve spoken to some of the key figures and firms operating in the region, and look at the impact they are making regionally, nationally and internationally. Our cover story is Tim Bailey, founder of Xsite Architecture and chairman of RIBA North East. He speaks to North East Times about his doorstep architecture ethos and why he believes the challenges facing the region’s professionals are best addressed via its professional body.
Despite the volatility of recent weeks, there have been high points for regional businesses in 2018 and North East Times has decided to celebrate some of these with its first Impact Awards. Thank you to everyone who made nominations and congratulations to our winners: Lesley Spuhler, Steve Parkin, Jim Mawdsley, John Savage and Neil Herron. Extra applause also goes to Lesley, who takes our Outstanding Impact Award 2018.
Now in its second year, this issue looks at the individuals and organisations that are making waves in the industry regionally, nationally, and internationally.
This year, we’ve focused on those who are thinking ‘outside the box’ when it comes to architecture, design and construction.
Our cover star, designer Wayne Hemingway, reflects on the reasons for choosing Gateshead as the location for his innovative Staiths South Bank development, and reveals how it looked to reimaging residential living.
North East Times returns with its third Women’s Issue. Since our second issue, a lot has happened. Social media campaigns such as #TimesUp and #MeToo have gone viral and helped spark debate around attitudes to gender in society. I hope that this debate continues and real change can be achieved.
This issue again celebrates just some of the amazing women who are achieving great things in our region – spanning all levels and sectors. I’d like to thank Arwen Duddington, COO at ZeroLight, Estelle Blanks executive director at Innovation SuperNetwork and Joanna Feeley, founder of Trend Bible, for telling their inspiring stories, as well as the countless other women – and men – who have contributed to this issue.