Upbeat view of Tees Valley economy
Event host Steph McGovern with panellists Stephen Catchpole (front) and (back row from L-R): Jason Hobbs, Stan Higgins and Paul Bury.
Business leaders gave an optimistic assessment of the fortunes of the Tees Valley economy at a recent event held at Wilton Centre.
A host of high-profile professionals met to debate how well the area was recovering from the recession.
Business leaders from across the region attended the event, which included a Question Time-style Q&A session chaired by Middlesbrough-born BBC business reporter Steph McGovern.
Several key issues emerged from a lively debate, including the ability of the current financial landscape to support business growth.
Panellist Jason Hobbs of North East Finance – which manages the £125m Finance for Business North East programme – said: “The economic outlook for Tees Valley certainly looks more optimistic but some SMEs say they are still struggling to get hold of affordable finance which is putting the brakes on their growth.
“This has provided an opportunity for private equity and debt finance specialists to fill this funding gap and show businesses that there are many options available to them.”
The event, hosted by North East Finance and Tees Valley Business Club, also debated the skills agenda, the importance of exports to the local economy and the ability of the local infrastructure to support business growth.
One of the key messages to emerge from the evening was that Tees Valley companies must focus on their sales and marketing if they are to remain competitive.
Steph McGovern said she would welcome more news about local companies.
“I get about 50 emails a day from companies offering me the chance to come up and see their business. I never get any from Tees Valley – and that’s a shame because a lot of really positive things go on in this area.”