Over the last three months, the Invest Newcastle team has been incredibly busy showcasing the North East at trade fairs across Europe. To find out how the city was perceived on the international stage, we caught up with Invest Newcastle’s Director Jennifer Hartley.

This year marked our first visit to EXPO REAL and it definitely did not disappoint. As part of the UK Cities and Partners delegation, we travelled to the conference, which took place in Munich in October, alongside representatives for London, Manchester, Liverpool, West Midlands and West of England.

The conference itself is incredibly large with over 40k delegates and it offers a real opportunity to showcase the city’s offering to the German and international market. The conference is very deal focused and for Newcastle in particular there were a lot of specific asks in terms of mixed-use residential development, co-living spaces and also inter-generational residential developments.

There was also a lot of interest in Newcastle University’s Health Innovation Neighbourhood, which we promoted at the event to help set our city’s vision for an inclusive economy to potential investors. 

We’re currently following up on leads from the event, reaching out to investors and continuing conversations which we hope may lead to new investment in 2024. We’re also looking to attend the event next year with more of a focus on telling our city’s story and will be confirming our plans in the coming months.

From promoting Newcastle’s blossoming health innovations, to attending an entire conference dedicated solely to medical technology, MEDICA was the next natural place for us to continue making noise about our city’s advancement in medical data and health tech.

The trade fair, which takes place in Dusseldorf, had a big focus on AI and robotics this year and visiting as part of the UK delegation, it was clear that Newcastle really has a unique proposition within the healthy ageing space. 

Becky Crow and Molly Lymn from our team attended this one and showcased the research and innovation assets of the city, from the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing to the Biosphere commercial lab building, which has been phenomenally successful since it opened in 2019. 

Finally, Dawn Dunn and Richard Dawson attended Smart City Expo in Barcelona, promoting the city’s smart credentials at what is the biggest conference in the world dedicated to urban innovation. Exhibiting alongside Sunderland and other UK cities as part of a Connected Places Catapult delegation, the event was a fantastic opportunity to view the digital infrastructure and applications being piloted in cities around the globe.

Smart City Expo had a very global feel this year, with a strong presence from countries across the Middle East and Asia such as Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, China and Malaysia. Many of the people we spoke to were amazed that we had assets such as the Urban Observatory and National Innovation Centre for Data in our city. Following the event, we are speaking with a number of companies about partnerships with Newcastle where they can co-locate and pilot their technology.

In addition to attending these overseas events, we welcomed numerous international delegations to the city in 2023, including from the US, Canada, Norway, Estonia, Spain and numerous African countries. We also collaborated with Berlin-based Urban Impact on a Future Cities Guide for Newcastle, which you can read here: Newcastle – Future Cities Guide — Urban Impact

Looking ahead to 2024, we’re working hard on our MIPIM and UKREiiF plans and would like to encourage all DC members to get involved. 

If we want to have an international city, we absolutely must be out there promoting our offering on the international stage and reaching new audiences. You can help us tell the story and position Newcastle as the ambitious, progressive and inclusive city it really is.