Tyne & Wear

Study finds business green shoots in the North East

Three places in Tyne and Wear are among the top 20 in England for "business champions" which could drive economic growth, research shows.

Research by information analysts Experian and commissioned by the BBC looked at growth and growth potential.

Newcastle came ninth, South Tyneside 11th and Sunderland 15th for the proportion of businesses champions.

Previous Experian research in 2010 found many areas of the North East were not resilient to economic shocks.

In this latest research, the North East is ranked in first place in England for business champions.

The criteria for these include young, small companies which are less than 10 years old and with fewer than 50 employees, with directors with entrepreneurial appetite and are part of a wider corporate network.

Economists said the North East had a smaller business base which means it would statistically have a higher proportion of these champion businesses than other parts of Britain.

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham said: "It is excellent to see that this research has ranked the North East in first place for business champions across the country.

"The number of young, dynamic companies blazing a trail in their fields is very good news as it will be these firms that develop and grow into the major employers of the future."

But unions urged caution and said while job opportunities were welcome, the private sector was not creating enough jobs to offset public sector losses.

Other areas of the research found Newcastle had the weakest growth between 2008 and 2012 compared to Gateshead, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland, North Tyneside and County Durham.

Start-ups grew by 4.8% increasing the number of businesses by about 641 to 13,371 but the overall number of businesses in Newcastle declined between 2010 and 2012.

The highest growth in business start ups was in County Durham at 7.1% from 2008 to 2012 increasing the numbers of businesses by 1,319 companies to 18,588.

County Durham is placed 19th out of 324 in England for export potential based upon business characteristics.

Evidence from the research suggested exports from the North East were continuing to grow, particularly supported by manufacturing, including Nissan, in Sunderland.

Meanwhile, people from across the North East and Cumbria are taking part in a debate, talking about how the economic crisis has affected them.

One of those involved is Eddie Cassidy, 61, who was made redundant from AEI Cables, in Birtley, Gateshead, in May 2011 after 37 years.

He told of the challenges of finding a new job.

5Live's Victoria Derbyshire is joined by an audience from across the North East and Cumbria on Monday to find out how the economic crisis has affected this region.

Our Economy - the BBC Look North Debate with Victoria Derbyshire - 23:05 GMT on Monday on BBC One.

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