Despite a challenging start to 2020, Invest Newcastle has facilitated a record number of new investments and expansions, creating and safeguarding more than 2,500 jobs.

From March 2020 to April 2021, the team has supported 26 new businesses to invest and locate their business in Newcastle and Gateshead – an increase of 13% on the previous year. Although inward investment visits were put on hold due to the pandemic, they have continued to promote the region to global investors. Many of the new investments align with the regions strengths is life sciences and within the creative, digital and tech space, with 84% of new investments within these sectors.

There has been a rise in investment across the fintech space and this year global fintech company Xplor, chose Newcastle over nine other UK cities as their newest business location – creating more than 200 jobs. Scottish digital transformation company Digital Technologies Group (DTG) also set up an office in The Catalyst on Newcastle Helix – a unique eco-system in the heart of the city which fosters innovation and collaboration.

The team also helped secure new investments from the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, a leading provider of assessment and monitoring systems, and fintech business Dialect, both of which have set up base in Gateshead.

The health and life sciences sector has seen significant growth, as a result of campaign work and interest in The Biosphere, a specialist lab facility dedicated to the commercialisation of life sciences on Newcastle Helix. Numerous life science companies including bio-medical companies 3D Bio-Tissues, AMLo Biosciences and CellulaREvolution all joined this growing life science cluster.

The life science sector was also the biggest contributor to job creation – with the NHS Integrated COVID Hub North East creating over 1,000 jobs across Newcastle and Gateshead in December 2020. The Lighthouse Lab based in Gateshead can process 80,000 coronavirus tests per day with a coordination and response centre based in The Lumen on Newcastle Helix and a specialist lab team at The Biosphere who are dedicated to the next stage of covid science and beyond.

Invest Newcastle has also supported 18 businesses to expand and grow their business – a massive 80% increase from 2019-2020. Despite economic impacts from Covid-19, many sectors saw a rise in demand for products and services, including legal service specialists DRS, who deliver contract management services to some of the largest banks and asset managers. DRS have grown their local team from 3 to 55 in three years, after securing more clients. Other big expansions include leading video games company Ubisoft, who have taken on new roles across their two bases in Newcastle including additional space at Partnership House in Gosforth, and Mkodo, a specialist in mobile apps who celebrated taking on 10 new team members.

This year the North East also won a bid to promote the region as a high potential opportunity (HPO) for healthy ageing. This will support inward investment opportunities by showcasing the North East’s assets to investors in more than 177 cities around the world via DIT’s global network.

Councilor Joyce McCarty, Cabinet member for Inclusive Economy, said:

“Inward investment is crucial as our city recovers from the pandemic. The North East has one of the fastest growing digital clusters in the UK, with this sector continuing to grow, particularly within the fintech space, and we continue to be a hot spot for life sciences, with our world class universities and outstanding hospitals trust contributing to our offer.

“These strengths are playing a huge role in the recovery of our economy and it is promising to see businesses recognising us as a ‘northern city hub’ as they look to move from big London-based headquarters, valuing our innovation assets, quality of life and talent we have on offer.

“Newcastle City Council will continue to work hard to make sure our indigenous businesses get the support they need, create good quality well paid jobs and help us retain graduates from our excellent universities.

“It is so important we come together to promote our city’s sector strengths, supportive business community and unique culture, to attract new businesses and new jobs to our great city.”

Councilor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council said:

“The North East has shown remarkable grit in the last year, our businesses have worked tirelessly to ensure the region prospers beyond the pandemic; embracing innovation, fostering collaboration, employing a highly skilled workforce and laying the foundations for a job rich economy.

“Our people and partnerships are key to success; creating growing businesses, good employment and great places to invest.

“Gateshead recognises the importance of creating the right conditions for investment to attract new businesses and development, and to sustain our existing ones. We are looking forward to an exciting, rich and vibrant future. The return of world class athletics to the Gateshead International Stadium with the Muller Grand Prix Gateshead and the investment in NewcastleGateshead Quays Arena and Conference Centre will shine a spotlight on the region and support a growing visitor economy for the region.

“Investment in fintech and the digital economy also continues to flourish as companies seek out a dynamic business culture that hires the best talent and enjoys a superb quality of life.

“Together all these investments are transforming our economy and Gateshead is committed to creating opportunities for new businesses and jobs to thrive.”

Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle said:

“It has been such a challenging year for many businesses, but despite this our resilient sectors have continued to scale and grow. This record number of new investments has provided much-needed jobs at such an important time.

“Our region’s strengths in digital and tech and life science have really shone through, showing confidence in our city as a business location, and our ability to attract and retain the best talent. Throughout the pandemic, the region has shown incredible resilience and many local companies have adapted and innovated to protect lives and support our economy. Inward investment activity is critical to our region’s economic recovery and to support our work we have recently expanded our team, with three new team members who will help us to attract further investment, jobs, and opportunities.

“We are extremely proud of our regions strengths as a place to innovate, collaborate and grow a business and we look forward to when we can once again show it off to global investors as the economy reopens and restrictions lift. We have a strong and compelling offer and by working collaboratively, I have no doubt that we will continue to attract more businesses and talent.”

Part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Invest Newcastle’s mission is to help businesses locate, expand, and thrive in Newcastle and Gateshead. They champion the city on a national and international stage, working collaboratively to drive forward economic growth. Since it was established in 2013, Invest Newcastle has supported more than 200 new businesses to relocate or expand, helping to create and safeguard more than 12,000 jobs.