Jen Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle, talks about how collaboration and partnership is strengthening the region’s international proposition and driving economic growth, and why, more than ever, this is the time to use those strong connections

Since Invest Newcastle was established, we have supported more than 160 new businesses to relocate or expand in our great city, helping to create and safeguard more than 8500 jobs. The collaborative nature of the business community is imperative to our proposition to investors.

We rely on our partners, the industry experts and professional support, to let our potential newcomers know what a great place it is to build a business, often with this welcome being the very reason they choose to be part of our region’s story.

Over the past 12 months we’ve welcomed several new businesses to the region including global fintech businesses and Singletrack. We’ve played a critical role in growing a thriving life sciences ecosystem at The Biosphere and worked to help bring a Hard Rock Café to Newcastle’s Quayside. We’ve also played a significant role in influencing the BBC to bring a new tech hub to Newcastle. Businesses want to be connected to the city’s key players and opportunities, and the power of partnerships is what helps to make our narrative so strong.

We’ve also been busy showing off our city’s assets to more than 30 delegations from across the world. Giving businesses the ‘Geordie welcome’ they deserve isn’t something we do alone. Businesses and leaders pull together to help us show off our assets, demonstrate how we are working together, innovating and most of all supporting business.

It’s not just about helping us to ‘sell’ our city as ambassadors; it’s about coming together to create new opportunities for economic growth. For example, the North East has a global reputation for research excellence into healthy ageing, which is not only helping to transform the quality of life for people as they age, it is opening up new opportunities in a market that could be worth billions of pounds.

This would not be possible without the public sector, business and academics working together towards a common goal. With assets like the National Innovation Centre for Ageing working to test, explore and bring new products to market, we are pioneering the longevity economy and businesses want to be part of that.

Newcastle Helix is a living, breathing example of how you can bring academia, business and industry together to create an ecosystem of collaboration to drive investment and talent into our city.

Our attendance at international property event MIPIM is another example of the private and public sectors working together to accelerate growth and investment. Our partners are so passionate about our city and play such a vital role in helping us to have a stronger international voice, not just at the event but all year round. Together, we use this opportunity to secure investment, develop strategic relationships, pitch ideas to decision-makers and connect with some of the most influential people in the property sector.

Ultimately, partnerships help us to have a stronger voice. They have the power to drive ideas, investment, innovation and help to overcome challenges collectively.

This leads me on to this challenging time for the North East economy.

At the time of writing this, we are in unprecedented and uncertain times, but our team are still committed to supporting the region’s economy and future growth. There are lots of resources and initiatives being established to help support businesses and employers who are affected by COVID-19 and in partnership with others, we will be working hard to support our city’s businesses at this critical time.

Supporting the business community during this difficult period is vital. This is the time to come together, share best practice and support each other. Partnerships have never been so important.

We are already seeing new innovations, ideas and business models that are being used to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our economy. This highlights the talent, creativity and agile nature of those who live, work and do business here. We will come out of this stronger by working together.

What’s next?

Using the power of partnerships, the Invest Newcastle team will continue to support the North East economy, champion our region to the world and support businesses to establish themselves in our city.

From April 2020, Invest Newcastle will also be working to attract inward investment and capital development into Gateshead. As neighbours and partners this is an opportunity to bring our shared and complementary sector strengths together.

From digital and tech, professional services to advanced manufacturing and logistics, Gateshead has an attractive inward investment proposition and this partnership will strengthen our property portfolio and offer to investors. We are already boundary blind when it comes to speaking to international investors, with PROTO and the Northern Design Centre already part of our digital and tech propositions.

Gateshead is already home to leading companies including Akzo Nobel, Sumo Digital, Komatsu,
and Bloom Procurment Services. The team and I look forward to creating more new partnerships
and welcoming more businesses to Newcastle and Gateshead.