THE North-East and North Yorkshire have been successful in Government bids deliver three High Potential Opportunities (HPO) documents. 

The North East has secured three of these projects in healthy ageing; plant based products and heat networks, with the latter in partnership with Tees Valley.

The Tees Valley has also secured biomanufacturing, while North Yorkshire has agri-tech (agriculture technology, vertical farming) in partnership with York and Leeds.

HPO documents will support inward investment opportunities by showcasing the North East and North Yorkshire's strengths in these key sectors, which will be shown to international investors in more than 177 cities around the world via DIT’s global network.

The High Potential Opportunities scheme, run by the Department for International Trade (DIT), was extended across more than 20 new sectors and areas of the UK in 2018, after pilot schemes in Doncaster, Telford and Greater Manchester.

Speaking about the North East LEP region, Guy Currey, director of Invest North East England, said: "This is fantastic news for North East England, and demonstrates that our sector strengths in ageing, energy and plant-based foods have the potential to drive forward our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by bringing investment into the region.

"These three particular sectors of industry were chosen by DIT because of the expertise, skills and talent we have in the North East.

"Key sites like Newcastle Helix, home to the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and NETPark have helped position the North East as the leading destination for research and innovation in healthy ageing. 

"I am very much looking forward to working on these HPOs alongside our local partners to help deliver the programme and ultimately promote the region as a location for businesses to locate and prosper."

Mr Currey says the energy sector in the North-East is thriving and this news will showcase the region's "world-leading" ecosystem in energy, engineering, and manufacturing.

Plant-Based Valley in Northumberland and the V-Bites vegan food business based in Peterlee has also helped the North-East establish itself in the emerging plant based market.

Fitting into Yorkshire's allocation of agri-tech HPO, food company Heck last year announced its hope to create the 'Silicon Valley of Food in the Vale of York' by expanding into agri-tech and sustainability, building the first vertical farming facility in Yorkshire.

Vertical farming is where crops are grown in vertically stacked layers, and Heck wanted to grow basil and other herbs on the farm.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "Trade, the investment it brings and the deals we’re negotiating will benefit every part of the UK and help us build back better across the country.

"More investment will help to provide strong foundations for a robust economy in the years to come, boosting productivity and creating jobs, whilst demonstrating the crucial role that foreign investors from our key trading partners play in boosting our regional economies."