THE Entrepreneurs’ Forum has appointed a new chairman.

Business owner, mentor and investor James Robson has taken on the role.

Mr Robson succeeds Nigel Mills, who has held the position for six years and will remain on the Gateshead-based organisation’s board.

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Mr Robson founded Exwold Technology, a contract chemical processing company operating in the agrichemical and speciality markets, in the early-1990s.

Operating from four sites, including bases in Hartlepool and Haverton Hill, near Billingham, the company employs around 120 staff and has a turnover of more than £10m.

Now a non-executive director, Mr Robson also oversees consultancy company Alexander Jewitt & Co, which provides mentoring and hands-on resources to small and medium-size firms.

As an accredited coach, he has built a reputation for helping business owners and was presented with the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s mentor of the year award in 2016.

Mr Robson also works closely with the Department of International Trade and, as an investor and chairman of Mircopore Technologies, has raised considerable capital to fuel international growth, bringing the Loughborough University spin-out from the Midlands to Teesside.

Awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to North-East business, he is also a member of the region’s chemical sector community and a member of the North-East Process Industry Cluster leadership board.

He said: “I am very honoured to be appointed chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

“I would like to thank Nigel on behalf of the members for his dedicated and loyal service during his chairmanship and I look forward to building on his achievements in driving the scale-up agenda and as a champion of North-East business.”

Mr Mills added: “I am delighted to pass the chairmanship to James, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.

“The Forum has established itself as a core part of the North-East business community and I am proud to have played a role in its continuing growth and the development of events and programmes that encourage and nurture entrepreneurship in the region.”