He said: “At the moment the domestic and European market, with the exception of Germany, are relatively flat and growth is slow. It will come back but in the meantime growth countries like India, China and Brazil provide a great opportunity for Teesside-based firms.
“Teesside has all the infrastructure in place, a brilliant port and transport links, and all the facilities and amenities needed, to make a success of this. The products and services made on Teesside are exactly the sort of things they want. I just wish people would be bold and take that step. It would be great for the Teesside economy.”
But it’s not just the large companies that could benefit.
North-east chairman of the Institute of Directors Alastair Thomson said: “Undoubtedly there are two economies that businesses would want to be getting involved in during the next five to 10 years, those are China and India.”
He says both are seeing strong rates of economic growth - even now when the rest of the world is struggling.
“There is help around, certainly for small businesses wanting to work and establish links overseas,”
With both countries moving from an agricultural model to a more western economy the demand for our products is there.
“India has a population approaching a billion people, and it is moving towards an economy that buys western style goods such as TVs, cars and gadgets,” said Mr Thomson, who is also dean of Teesside University’s Business School. “If businesses don’t think about the Indian or Chinese markets we are missing half of the world’s population.”
Visiting the region UKIBC chief executive Richard Heald said: “Businesses in the North-east are already leading the way in India.”
And, he says, others could do the same. “It can seem like a huge leap but small businesses around the world are finding fantastic opportunities in India every single day,”
The UKIBC is hosting an India business networking summit in Manchester on March 14.