New NEPIC Chief Executive Iain Wright called on the North East process sector to continue to grow in strength and numbers and take advantage of economic opportunities both here and abroad.
Speaking at the seventh annual Meet the Members Conference and Expo, the former MP for Hartlepool and Chair of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committee, welcomed over 530 attendees and 100 exhibitors to Wynyard Hall.
Addressing a packed venue, Wright rallied NEPIC members on only the eighth day of his job, saying: “Coming into this industry I am very excited. Not just because of its current economic strength but of its future potential. There are projects about to take place in our region with enormous potential and I want NEPIC members to be part of that.”
Attendees heard from leading manufactures including SABIC UK Petrochemicals, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, px Group and Sirius Minerals regarding projects with the potential for billions of pounds to be invested in the region.
Furthermore, key business updates were delivered by Northern Gas Networks, Armstrong Energy, Emerson, PwC and PR guru and board member of the Tees Valley LEP and South Tees Development Corporation, Graham Robb. The newly elected Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, also attended and spent time meeting and greeting exhibiting firms.
Organisers also facilitated over 170 business exchange meetings that took place during the event between the firm’s member companies and pool of industry mentors.
Wright, who recently took over the post from the retiring Dr Stan Higgins, was keen to encourage members to continue to look to export their products and services across the globe.
He continued: “We have had an Indian delegation from the pharmaceutical industry who has been in the region and visited the NEPIC Meet the Member event. I want our members not to just think of the North East but the world out there to take advantage of.
“The importance of clusters working and collaborating together, often on an informal and personal basis, has never been more important. Working in a collaborative fashion can really raise the success levels of an industry and can be the difference between success and failure.”
North East England is home to the chemistry-using industries of chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biofuels and renewable energy and low carbon materials.
There are more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these industries, generating £26 billion of annual sales. Together they employ 190,000 people and the sector exports £12 billion each year – making this region the only net exporting region in the UK.
Together with member companies, NEPIC work to build upon the already powerful industrial base located here and make this region one of the most competitive and successful chemical-processing locations in Europe.
Privately-owned and led by industry, NEPIC supports cluster members to become successful and sustainable organisations in a collaborative business environment that helps them to grow.