Region’s businesses gather to celebrate Tees Valley

The North East’s business community was told last night that it must be prepared to lead the region into future economic security.

Speaking at the North East Chamber of Commerce’s (NECC) Tees Valley Dinner, Chris Beaumont, Chair of NECC’s Tees Valley Committee, said that the North East has had a challenging twelve months, but that the future held a great deal of potential.

Mr Beaumont spoke about hits that the region’s economy has taken in the last year in the shape of the loss of Teesside Cast Products and the even more recent closure of Garlands Call Centres.

Mr Beaumont said: “These events alongside the wider challenges every region in this country faces, underline more than ever why we must stick together and be clear as a business community on how the Tees Valley can be the best place to do business.”

On the eve of the 2010 World Cup, football was on the mind of everyone present, especially after-dinner speaker Alastair Brownlee of BBC Tees. Mr Brownlee took the opportunity to remind the assembled business leaders of the Tees Valley area’s history and heritage, both on the field and off.

Mr Brownlee said: “Teesside is a fantastic area, and we need to celebrate what we can do.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Damian Hughes, founder of consultancy and training business Liquidthinker. He offered an alternative take on the best way for the region’s businesses to tackle the challenges that Chris Beaumont had highlighted, pointing out that interesting times don’t have to be bad times.

Chris Beaumont was keen to reinforce the importance of the Tees Valley on the national stage. He stressed that despite the forthcoming emergency budget focusing on cuts and deficit reduction, the Tees Valley mustn’t suffer unduly.

Mr Beaumont said: “We must be clear that there are areas of crucial importance in the Tees Valley that shouldn’t be sacrificed. Perhaps most obvious are the commitments to the first steps in creating a Metro for the Tees Valley – announced by the Regional Minister at this event twelve months ago – alongside other much needed improvements to our transport infrastructure, supporting our port and wider industry. These proposals are an investment in the recovery of the Tees Valley and must be retained.”

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