I'm delighted to formally launch the North East Business Awards 2014, the flagship celebration for this region’s business community.
We have become accustomed in recent years to talking about how important it is to celebrate success, even when times are tough for the economy. And, at the risk of repeating ourselves, that firmly remains the case today.
Twelve months ago we might have hoped that come the launch of this year’s business awards things would be looking up for the economy, yet the truth is it remains extremely difficult for many firms in this region. We’ve actually been saying the very same thing for a couple of years now.
But every year there are some notable exceptions. And one of the great things about the North East Business Awards is how they showcase those companies that are defying the tough times.
You don’t have to look too far for examples of such excellence, of course. The business pages of The Journal and the Evening Gazette are full of success stories on a daily basis. And we hope these awards will encourage other companies to tell us about their own successes. The newspapers themselves have been making a tangible difference in helping North East companies expand. In just seven months their Let’s Grow campaign has awarded £20m of Regional Growth Funding to 64 companies, creating or safeguarding some 2,600 North East jobs.
Working with partners the BE Group and UNW, Let’s Grow still has £10m of funding to award in the next year or so and create even more jobs.
Those companies being helped by Let’s Grow right now are potential business awards winners of the future. Right now we want to hear of companies who have achieved great things during 2013.
The firm may have moved into new markets at home or overseas, pioneered a new product or technology, or have reshaped or refocused in order to cope with the challenging economic environment. There is a wide range of awards categories designed to capture all such success stories.
In the business world, ‘confidence’ is such an important factor – confidence to invest, confidence to innovate and confidence to take risks. Confidence can be inspired by the deeds of others, and these awards have a massive role to play in highlighting those companies that are dealing with and succeeding against the challenges of their markets.
The North East Business Awards are pre-eminent among all regional business awards in the UK. This is the 14th year of the regional format, with sub-regional events for Teesside, Durham & Wearside, and Tyneside & Northumberland feeding the regional final which takes place in April 25 at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield.
Every year we are delighted by the support the awards receive both from our sponsors and from companies taking part. They say an awful lot about the attitude, talent, spirit and enterprise we have here in the North East.
Working with headline sponsor the NECC, we want the 2014 awards to be the biggest and best yet. But in order to do that, we need the business community of the region to rally behind them. And that means we’re looking for as many entrants as possible to ensure the competition remains as tough as ever.
Please get involved.
Go to http://www.nebusinessawards.co.uk/ to enter