North-East England is one of the most dynamic regions in Europe. Once dependent on heavy industry, it is now an established centre for digital media, life sciences, renewable energy and process industries, and we enjoy an international and long-standing reputation for innovation.
Home to 2.5 million people, a healthy £26bn economy, beautiful landscapes and a vibrant and unique culture, independent surveys consistently rank North-East England as having an excellent quality of life.
The healthy economic output of the North-East is characterised by its pioneering approach to manufacturing and emphasis on innovative knowledge-based business start-ups.
The region has attracted significant investment from overseas with world leading companies such as Nissan, Huntsman, Atmel, Dupont and others establishing successful North-East operations alongside the many homegrown business success stories such as Sage and Northern Rock.
The region has 65,000 private businesses employing one million people. Growing entrepreneurship in the region has been accompanied by increasing business survival rates, which have improved by over 7% since 1993, an increase above any other region.
Government statistics prove that the region is fast establishing itself as a viable base of operations for major international companies and developing global operations. During 2005/06, 63 firms moved to the North-East or re-invested in existing businesses in the region - five more than in 2004/05.
In total, these important investments will create 4,253 new jobs and safeguard a further 1,522 posts, with capital expenditure of just over £62m by the investing companies.
The North-East's five internationally acclaimed universities - Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Teesside and Northumbria - and centres of excellence - Centre for Process Industries (CPI), Centre of Excellence in Life Sciences (CELS) and the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) - spearhead the region's offer to investors.
Newcastle's Science City status will put the whole region at the forefront of science and technology based business in the UK. £30m has already been invested in the purchase of the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery site in the heart of Newcastle.
The deal means 14.4 acres of the site is owned by a partnership of Newcastle City Council, One NorthEast and Newcastle University who have pledged to use Science City status to enhance the region's growing reputation for pioneering scientific research and as a key location for knowledge based business.
Up to 15,000 jobs could be created over the next 10 years as researchers and companies come together to exploit commercial opportunities in science relating to areas such as stem cells, ageing, health, energy and molecular engineering. A further £25m has also been invested in the North-East Stem Cell Institute.
The North-East is also a hotbed for arts and culture attracting talent from across the globe to live, work and study against the backdrop of inspirational buildings such as the Sage Gateshead Centre and the soon to open mima - the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
Margaret Fay is chair of One NorthEast.