The North East in 2014 is a great place to do business - and there are no shortages of reasons why.
We've chosen 50 of the most important reasons why the North East is such a vibrant economy, grouped into seven themes - connectivity, value, innovation and diversity, great people, lifestyle, export and sustainability.
Flick through the gallery to read the 50 reasons - and discover gems such as the £4bn value of our visitor economy, the +£3bn trade balance and the £7.5bn of value that manufacturing brings to the North East.
You can suggest your own by tweeting with the hashtag #GreatNE
Value: A positive and cost effective environment to do business
1 Internationally, of 89 markets surveyed, Newcastle city centre sits 22nd in terms of cost (cheaper than 67 other global centres).
2 Costs of utilities such as electricity, suppliers and support services are typically lower than other parts of the country.
3 The region enjoys a world-class commercial banking and lending sector based upon strong local relationships and close knowledge of the local economy.
4 Office costs are as much as 50% lower than London and the South East and 20% lower than Leeds and Manchester. (DTZ)
5 Average house prices are 30% lower than the UK average
Lifestyle: An enviable quality of life thanks to our natural and cultural assets
6 A £4bn visitor economy with attractions such as World Heritage sites, Hadrian’s Wall and Durham Cathedral.
7 Iconic castles and country houses such as Cragside, Bamburgh, Durham, Guisborough, Raby, Alnwick, Lumley, Warkworth and Dunstanburgh.
8 Over £250m has been invested in cultural regeneration in NewcastleGateshead, which now boasts more theatres per head of population than anywhere else in the UK, and is a second home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
9 Sport is the lifeblood of the region, the North East boasts:
* Three top football teams in Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
* Europe’s largest half marathon each year in the Great North Run.
* World-class and championship golf courses such as Slaley Hall, Close House and Rockcliffe Hall
* An international test match venue at Durham County Cricket Club.
10 Multiple traditional and contemporary art galleries and theatres. The Baltic Gallery has played host to the Turner Prize attracting almost 150,000 people , double any previous attendances in London.
11 The North East has some of the best cycle routes in the country including national cycle network routes; Coast and Castles, Hadrian’s Way and the famous Coast to Coast.
12 World famous, open-air museum Beamish has been consistently recognised as one of the UK’s top visitor attractions and has won the title for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year.
13 Breathtaking beaches a short drive from Newcastle city centre
Great people: A skilled, loyal and flexible workforce
14 The number of people with NVQ2 level qualifications is above the nation al average (ONS)
15 Employment and labour productivity (GVA per hour worked) are growing at the fastest rate in the UK.
16 Our people are known for their passion and friendliness with Geordie accents regularly among the top three favourites in the UK (YouGov)
Sustainability: A sustainable North East with significant natural resources
17 With plenty of water for industry in the UK’s biggest reservoir at Kielder alongside the biggest hydro plant in the country and advanced anaerobic digestion on Teesside and Tyneside, Northumbrian Water is utilising our natural (and man-made) assets to sustain our economy and communities.
18 In the offshore wind industry the North East is set to be a major hub for new developments in deeper waters with the potential to create 10,000 new jobs.
19 The Five Quarter Group is pioneering world-leading new techniques to burn and gasify coal under the North Sea while capturing the carbon and processing by-products such as synthetic gas.
20 The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) at Blyth is a world-leading renewables testing facility with one of the world’s largest blade testing facilities, testing turbine nacelles as well as blades up to 100 metres in length.
21 Our location gives the shortest access to two of the UK’s biggest planned offshore wind farms Dogger Bank and the Moray Firth, from any one of five ports.
22 The North East is the UK hub for the energy from waste (EfW) industry with one of the world’s most advanced low-carbon, gasification EfW plants – the Air Products facility at Billingham – opening later this year.
23 Some 65,000 North East workers are employed in the oil and gas industry and a further 40,000 new jobs could be created in the North East energy sector by 2030.
24 With space to grow and land to develop, blue flag beaches on a wonderful coastline, the best salmon rivers in the country and the most beautiful and remote countryside in England, why would you go anywhere else!
Export: The North East is the leading UK exporter
25 Non-EU markets constitute just under half of the North East’s exports.
26 The North East enjoys close proximity to the Euro area – the largest single marketplace in the world.
27 Exports to Australasia have been growing exponentially since the launch of the Newcastle Emirates service to Dubai. The success of the route has led to the airline upgrading to a new aircraft with 45% more capacity.
28 The only region in the UK to consistently deliver a trade surplus, which stands at around £3bn.
29 World-class transport links through our Ports and Airports ensure ease of access to our international gateways. The Ports of Tees and Hartlepool are home to one of the UK’s deepest river mouths as well as several industrial specification dry docks - one of which is the largest in the world.
An innovative and diverse North East: A vibrant region with industrial strengths but also a diversity of growing business sectors
30 More than 65,000 people work in the oil and gas sector and more than 70% of the oil and gas platforms operating in the North Sea were built here.
31 The North East is home to the largest integrated chemicals plant in the UK at Wilton in Teesside. Over 1400 companies operate in the sector exporting £12bn of goods a year and employing 25% of the region’s workforce.
32 One in three cars made in UK come out of Nissan in Sunderland making the North East the number one car producing region in the UK with considerable supply chain opportunities.
33 With five universities offering world-class teaching and research, the North East has innovation at its heart.
34 With the Centre for Process Industries (CPI) and the National New and Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), the North East is key to the government’s future growth strategy.
35 The region is leading Europe on electric vehicle infrastructure and roll out and is acting as an advisor to London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Estonia, Singapore, South Africa and Hong Kong.
36 Greggs’ national HQ for food technology & research is based at its new £16.5m Gosforth Park regional bakery and its the first bakery in the world to deploy new oven technology.
37 Experian Insights Report highlighted that the North East had more companies with the characteristics for high growth than anywhere else in the UK.
38 Over a fifth of the North East employment base is created by medium sized businesses (the most in the UK) meaning we have locally rooted businesses providing strong supply chains for inward investors.
39 Manufacturing is currently worth £7.5bn to the North East economy and presents further growth opportunities due to a focus on supply chain retrenchment.
40 The creative and cultural sector employs almost 60,000 people in the region, with over 5,000 businesses, making up 12% of the region’s VAT registered businesses.
41 £2.1bn of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry is based in the North East catering for the full pharmaceutical product life-cycle. Global giants Akzo Nobel have located leading R&D centres in the region.
42 Around 1m tonnes of potassium-rich salt mineral (potash) is extracted from Boulby Mine each year, half of the UK’s total output. The mine also produces rock salt, used as a de-icing agent on roads.
Connectivity: World class transport links to markets anywhere by air, land and sea
43 Newcastle International Airport handles over 4m passengers a year and enjoys direct access to hub airports such as London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Brussels and Dubai.
44 Durham Tees Valley Airport provides access to over 70 worldwide destinations via hub connections at Amsterdam Schiphol.
45 The Tees Valley is home to a multi-modal, bio-freight fuel terminal, which is bringing extra investment to increase the industrial freight handling capacity of the area.
46 The Tyne and Wear Metro system carries 40 million people every year and links together major transport hubs with people and businesses.
47 Teesport is the second largest UK port and offers close proximity to mainland Europe, handling over 40 million tonnes of cargo every year
48 Port of Tyne is a major export hub for businesses such as Nissan which exports roughly 350,000 cars every year to 90 countries and has a growing cruise trade.
49 World-class freight links in and out of the region and through our major ports and also to our major industrial assets such as our chemical process and steel making facilities.
50 A relatively free flowing internal road network with some of the lowest average commuting times in the UK and good connections to Britain’s two capital cities, London and Edinburgh, which are both under three hours’ commute