Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen launching Business Summit
The North East region’s biggest business event this week welcomed more than 1,000 industry leaders, company owners and managers from across Tees Valley for a sell-out show.
This year’s packed Tees Valley Business Summit, the eighth annual event, saw more than 100 businesses exhibit at Teesside University’s Olympia Building alongside a busy schedule of workshops and networking.
At the summit, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen welcomed delegates and spoke about opportunities for local businesses at Durham Tees Valley Airport and the South Tees Development Corporation.
In March this year, the Tees Valley mayor returned Durham Tees Valley Airport back to public ownership. Following their success in turning around London Southend Airport Stobart Group were brought on board as joint venture partners to operate the airport. A 10-year rescue plan to turn the airport around is now being implemented, with land on the 819-acre site available for private investment.
More than half of all developable land at the Development Corporation site has now been acquired and is investor-ready. The wider 4,500-acre site has a first-phase investment pipeline of £10bn and has had more than 100 enquiries from global companies looking to invest in the site.
Mayor Houchen said: “The Business Summit is now firmly established as one of the best places to gain invaluable insight into how our vital companies – from SMEs to market leaders – can grow and work together. I was delighted to see that, once again, there was a great mix of sectors from across the region.
“This year, I could shout even louder about what we are achieving in Teesside. Our airport needs to work for local businesses as well as residents, and it is. Since bringing it back into public ownership a number of contracts have already been awarded to local companies, and many more will be awarded in the coming months. The days of our airport relying on companies in Manchester and London and not supporting local firms are gone.
“The Development Corporation, too, remains a huge priority. We now have control of over half of the developable land and we have the companies wanting to invest and create the jobs people want to see the site deliver.”
Seminars included talks on Durham Tees Valley Airport, led by the Tees Valley mayor with the head of airport development Phil Forster, and the Development Corporation, by its CEO David Allison. Other topics included finance, international trade and marketing. For the first time, a new Incubator Zone was on hand to help small and micro businesses to tap into specifically tailored support.
It followed another fully-booked Tees Engineering Network business breakfast, held ahead of the summit, also at Teesside University. This featured presentations from the airport and px, a leading provider of innovative operations management, engineering services and energy management solutions.
Shak Asghar, Tees Valley Business Compass growth service manager, said: “We’ve spoken to dozens of people representing businesses of all kinds across Tees Valley, and had a great response from them all. We’ve been able to give companies big and small support and great networking opportunities, with a good focus on encouraging our key sectors.”
Paul McEldon, chairman of North East Enterprise Agency, said: “This was another successful summit that we were proud to be part of. In particular, the new Incubator Zone proved to be a hit with the region’s entrepreneurs and new starts, giving them advice on how to get their foot on the ladder of success. Long may it continue.”
The summit was put together in association with the Tees Valley mayor, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Tees Valley Business Compass, North East Enterprise Agency Ltd and Teesside University.
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