THE judges of the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards look for young entrepreneurs who will help to lead the region's economy to fresh heights.
And Brett Jacobson, who has built up a successful online marketing agency over the last five years, epitomises the qualities they are looking for.
The winner of last year’s Young Business Person of the Year title shows how ambition, imagination and good solid business sense are not the preserve of the seasoned and experienced executive.
Jacobson launched Mediaworks in Gateshead in 2007 and now it has a staff of 25 and brings in revenues of more than £1m a year.
And his client list, which has included big names including Eversheds, Akzo Nobel, Alfred Dunhill and Regus, show this is a company which is strong enough to attract serious business. Mediaworks now competes with international rivals to win big national contracts.
And it all began when Jacobson left Northumbria University with a degree in applied computing and little idea of where he wanted to apply himself.
He was introduced to Express Engineering boss and former North East Business Executive of the Year Chris Thompson, who said search engine optimisation (SEO), one of the skills Jacobson had gathered, was something a couple of his businesses required.
With Thompson as chairman and Jacobson as managing director of the fledgling Mediaworks, Jacobson set his sights on blue chip accounts. He was 22 then, and the credit crunch was getting under way with many clients hard-pressed to justify every penny of their marketing spend.
But the business has been able to justify their spending and seen its reputation and its order books grow every year since. And it continues to grow after winning the Young Business Person title in the awards, organised by the Journal and the Evening Gazette in Middlesbrough.
The awards look for the best and most inspiring people in commerce across the region and look across every sector.
There are trophies for three sub-regions of Teesside, Durham & Wearside and Tyneside & Northumberland and the winners there go on to be finalists at the regional level where one is named North East Business Executive 2012.
In addition there are trophies not just for those under 30 as the North East Young Business Person of the Year, but for Non-Executive Director of the Year, which aims to recognise the vital role non-executives can play in the development of a company and a Lifetime Achievement award.
Once again investment management firm Brewin Dolphin is the associate sponsor of the competition.
Vinay Bedi, divisional director of the business in Newcastle, said: “During this period of economic downturn, this competition is particularly important in trying to recognise those who can help to lead this region back to prosperity.
“The Government is looking to private enterprise to help to lead the recovery and we have a great record in this region of producing individuals who can provide a catalyst for the economic growth which is absolutely imperative for the future success of the North East.”