IF YOU were to ask people in the Far East, North America or the Gulf where Sedgefield is, it’s highly unlikely that they would be able to pinpoint it on a map.
Perhaps, if they took a keen interest in politics, they might recall its links to a one-time prime minister or the infamous visit of the world’s most powerful man a few years ago.
Or maybe, if they were a horse racing fanatic, they might be familiar with the County Durham town for its racecourse pedigree.
Until now, it’s fair to say that Tony Blair’s former constituency has kept a pretty low profile on the international scene.
However, the work going on within the walls of a fairly nondescript building near the town could be set to change that and cause the world’s major industrial players to plot their way to the region.
Plans are under way to create thousands of jobs by placing Sedgefield on the frontline of the development of technology which will transform the electronics world. The dawn of the printable electronics age is seen by many industry experts as the most exciting thing to happen in electronics since the creation of microchips.
And through the Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC) on the NETPark industrial estate, the North East is well placed to become an international pioneer in the field.
The ability to put lighting systems, circuitry and solar panels on to paper-thin, flexible surfaces means there are practically endless possibilities for innovative product development. Last July, the Government put £20m behind PETEC’s efforts to make the North East a global leader in printable electronics in a move which will initially create 250 jobs here and 1,500 nationally. The investment will fund expansion of PETEC as it gears up to supply a market expected to be worth £15bn by 2015.