WELCOME to our new 2020 Vision supplement – a major new initiative from The Journal focused on the North East economy and, more specifically, its future.
Over recent years, The Journal has earned a reputation for campaigning on behalf of North East businesses. Our major campaigns have included the Great North Revolution – focused on the low-carbon sector, Go Global – encouraging companies to look to export markets as a route out of recession, and our two successful apprenticeships campaigns.
We’ve also encouraged local people to buy North East goods and services through our Think North East First campaign, called for the North East to be given a stronger voice in Whitehall and Westminster through Case for the North East, and backed local food and drinks suppliers in our Taste initiative.
2020 Vision aims to build on this good work and the key themes of our campaigns will form the basis for the articles in each edition of the supplement. Today we begin by reflecting on three key areas – exports, low-carbon industry and skills – which remain at the forefront of the business agenda in the region.
The focus on exports, in particular, is especially timely given the recent news that the North East’s balance of trade position continues to be the best in the UK. As Chancellor George Osborne has challenged UK business to double the value of exports by 2020, we look forward to seeing how our region rises to that challenge in the years ahead, and we will be reporting on those successes in 2020 Vision.
Another key part of the 2020 Vision project, centres on the reputation of the North East.
Ever since the demise of regional development agency One North East, there has been a concern in the local business community about what is being done to promote the region nationally and internationally as a place to live, work and invest.
A group of senior business people have come together in a bid to provide a ‘narrative’ which advocates of the region can use when talking to those elsewhere and, as part of that work, they have put together some key facts that might come in useful.
Today we present 50 of those facts on the centre spread of our 2020 Vision supplement and we hope that readers might pull out and keep the page as a useful reference tool. Moreover, we would love to keep adding to the list of why it’s great to do business in the North East, so please do get in touch and submit your own ideas on our website at www.nebusiness.co.uk/2020 vision. We’ll be printing the best of your ideas in the next issue of 2020 Vision on August 15.