At Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ conference, more than 200 of the region’s leading business people gathered to hear how to grow their companies, by listening to experts and learning from their peers.
Peter Hiscocks, senior lecturer at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, told the audience: "For most of us the real opportunities are global, this is where we need to be heading."
Forum chief executive, Gillian Marshall, added: "What we have learned today from some of our speakers, and from a recent survey of our members, is that exporting is one of the best ways for North East businesses to grow and create jobs; in fact 52% said they expect to export more in the next year.
"The relative value of the pound and the prospect of new international trade deals opening up emerging markets make exporting an appealing prospect for a lot of companies in the short to medium-term, but in the long term it is absolutely essential for many companies wishing to achieve sustained growth."
A study conducted for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum showed that the region’s scale-up businesses performed better last year than in the previous, and that the majority predict even stronger performance next year. 68% of companies said they expected to increase the number of people they employ and 52% of firms expected to see an increase in export sales in 2016/17, compared to just 3% that expect to see exports fall.
The event’s keynote speaker, Vertu Motors CEO Robert Forrester said: "Energy is very important, as is drive; you want people who get out of bed in the morning with a purpose. You can’t build a business on people doing the minimum amount required not to get fired."
Cameron Saul of fashion social enterprise Bottletop explained how his background in the family that created Mulberry led to him founding the company, and how it continues to help people across the world.
Cameron said: "Can it be valuable to empower a company to do good? Of course, It’s something companies are now much happier to be involved with as their staff and customers are proud to be associated with it, but to develop initiatives properly they need to be from the ground up; from the sales floor to the boardroom."