Press release

First Northern Powerhouse Business Summit set to be held this summer

Three day summit to celebrate Northern innovation and discuss the future direction of the Northern Powerhouse.

Northern Powerhouse Business Summit logo

A 3-day summit to celebrate Northern innovation and discuss the future direction of the Northern Powerhouse will take place this summer, the government announced today (16 May 2018).

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit, part of the Great Exhibition of the North, is the first event of its kind ever to be held by government and will take place from 4 to 6 July 2018 in NewcastleGateshead.

The summit will bring together small businesses, government ministers, Northern Mayors, and business leaders from across the North of England. Together they will help to shape the next stage of the Northern Powerhouse through panel discussions, presentations, workshops and speeches.

It will be held at the heart of the Great Exhibition of the North, on the site where 19th century engineer Robert Stephenson designed his pioneering locomotive – the Rocket.

From the Industrial Revolution to the government’s Industrial Strategy, themes of discussions across the 3 days will include how the Northern Powerhouse can be at the forefront of the Strategy, including the role of the North in the government’s ‘Grand Challenges’. These challenges are: growing the Artificial Intelligence and data driven economy, clean growth, the future of mobility and an ageing society.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said:

The Northern Powerhouse is a top priority for our government and it is right that it should be central to the Great Exhibition of the North.

The last Great Exhibition was in 1851, when the North was powering the Industrial Revolution. This summit is about making sure that the Northern Powerhouse is creating a Northern economy fit for the future with the North at the forefront of a fourth Industrial Revolution.

The event will explore the creativity and innovation of northern businesses – from SMEs to FTSE100s – and the role the Northern Powerhouse will play in maximising the opportunities of Brexit.

There will also be discussion on how to tackle the North-South divide in educational attainment and outline the measures government is undertaking to reverse historic under-investment in northern transport and super-connect the great cities and towns of the North.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said:

The Great Exhibition of the North is a watershed moment for NewcastleGateshead that will celebrate not only art and culture, but the incredible design and innovation from across the North.

This business summit will bring Northern leaders together to showcase the region’s industrial strengths and attract future investment.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes, said:

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that is great about our region and we are delighted to be hosting this event in NewcastleGateshead as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.

Building a stronger northern economy and maximising opportunities for investment is crucially important – not just for our region but for the whole country.

This event will bring together key people and organisations who can develop the blueprints for future growth in the North.

Cabinet Member for the Economy at Gateshead Council, Councillor John Adams, welcomes the summit and said:

It will provide a platform to showcase the breadth of talent and capabilities of Northern business to a national and international audience, showing that we can compete globally in sectors including manufacturing, digital, and business services and it will demonstrate the exciting and rewarding careers that are available to people here in the North East.

Follow the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit on Twitter by searching #NPHSummit. For updates on the Great Exhibition of the North, please follow @GetNorth2018 or search: #GetNorth2018

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and will be free to attend.

Demand for tickets is expected to be high, so businesses who would like to attend are encouraged to register their interest early. See the website for further details on the programme and how to register.

Confirmed speakers and the final programme will be announced in due course.

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit forms a key part of the Great Exhibition of the North, being held from 22 June 2018 until 9 September 2018. The Exhibition is expected to attract more than 1 million national and international visitors to NewcastleGateshead, generating £184 million to the local economy. For more information on the Great Exhibition of the North visit

Further information

Background: Northern Powerhouse Business Summit

The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit aims to provide businesses from across the North with learning, networking and commercial opportunities, as well as shine a spotlight on the start-ups and scale-ups which call the North their home.

With a line-up of industry speakers, together with interactive workshops and an exhibition of Northern SMEs, businesses which attend can expect to be inspired by stories of innovation from across industry.

Government ministers will attend the summit to engage key leaders on their views for the future of the Northern Powerhouse.

The summit is being delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, supported by delivery partners BeaconHouse Events, HemingwayDesign, Digital Catapult, Thinking Digital and Sunderland Software City.

For any press enquiries about the Business Summit please contact:

Laura Richards Sunderland Software City 07468 611924/

Background: Northern Powerhouse

Since the Northern Powerhouse was launched in 2014:

  • the North’s economy has grown by £21 billion (GVA, ONS 2014/15; 2015/16); almost half a million jobs have been created since 2010 and more power has been transferred from Whitehall to the North than under any government in decades

  • the government has also committed to investing more to improve northern transport than any government in history; shaved off 15 minutes on train journey times between Liverpool and Manchester; created and funded Transport for the North, the country’s first sub-national transport body; committed £337 million to upgrade the Tyne and Wear Metro in the North East; and ring-fenced £3 billion to dramatically upgrade the rail route between Manchester and Leeds

  • in 2016 we published the Northern Powerhouse Strategy, outlining plans to boost economic growth by improving transport connections, strengthening education and skills outcomes, boosting levels of trade and investment, and strengthening private sector growth

  • last year, we launched the £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and rolled out finance to over 100 northern firms so they can start up, grow, and expand their operations globally

  • we have also undertaken over 50 Northern Powerhouse Trade Missions to promote northern businesses and investment opportunities to the world – from San Francisco to Dubai. Over the past 2 years, the number of foreign investments in the North has increased at double the national average

  • the government has invested £3.4 billion in the Northern Powerhouse for projects to boost local economies through Northern Powerhouse Growth Deals since 2014

About Great Exhibition of the North 2018:

  • in October 2016, NewcastleGateshead was selected to host Great Exhibition of the North; NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) led the bid and is the lead delivery partner for the Exhibition, working closely with colleagues at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a board chaired by Sir Gary Verity
  • City Delivery Partners including Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Gateshead College and NUFC are also providing vital support for Great Exhibition of the North
  • on 27 February the BBC announced a partnership to support Great Exhibition of the North
  • Great Exhibition of the North is supported by Premier Partners Virgin Trains, Accenture and CISCO
  • funding has also been secured via Innovate UK, VisitBritain, Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851, the Sir James Knott Trust and Reece Foundation and by England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020
  • National Lottery players have supported the Great Exhibition of the North through £1.7 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund; Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council England
  • Womble Bond Dickinson, Ward Hadaway, Siemens, Port of Tyne, Virgin Money, BT, Robertson and NewSubstance are proud partners of Great Exhibition of the North
  • Newcastle Airport, Greggs plc, Go North East, Tyne & Wear Metro and Northumbrian Water, Shout Digital, Stagecoach, PwC, Nexus, the Barbour Foundation and Ubisoft are supporting partners

For all press enquiries including image and interview requests for Great Exhibition of the North, please contact:

Jessica Dare: 0191 440 5749 /

Fiona Morgan: 07595585661 /

About the European Regional Development Fund:

  • the Great Exhibition of the North is receiving up to £636,800 offunding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020
  • the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund
  • established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations
  • for more information visit

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Published 16 May 2018