University of Sunderland has become the latest North East organisation to back the first BUSINESSiQ Awards.

The University will present the award for Creative Business of the Year, which will look at digital pioneers, film-makers, designers and architects, anyone who has that creative spark that is lighting up the region.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Graeme Thompson told us it was the right time to celebrate success as the region was changing so radically.

Read more: All the categories for the first BUSINESSiQ Awards at Ramside Hall

He said: "Our focus is on the university's impact on the regional economy, but also on preparing our students for graduation and full careers beyond graduation. So the prospect of being involved in the BUSINESSiQ Awards - an event which celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs and businesses - is obviously one that we would like to support.

The Northern Echo: Our venue - Ramside HallOur venue - Ramside Hall (Image: Press release)

"We chose the Creative Business of the Year because when you look at the success of graduates that have studied creative industries at Sunderland, they've gone on to really brilliant careers, either in the media or in the arts. And of course, culture-led regeneration has been very important to Sunderland over the past five or six years, with investments in the new fire station complex and Culture House.

"Just look at the work that's been done around big events such as the Tall Ships and Pages of the Sea - multi-million pound interventions that have helped Sunderland transform itself through cultural investment that is changing the landscape of the city itself.

"You can sense the excitement here."

He said the university was playing a key role in the region's regeneration and they were keen to work in partnership with organisations and events that helped drive that success.

The Northern Echo: Scan the code to nominate someoneScan the code to nominate someone (Image: Newsquest)

"We are one of the biggest employers and attract 1000s of international students to study in Sunderland. We partner businesses through research and knowledge exchange on various projects and are aware of the economic impact we can have.

"We work very closely with partners, not just within the city, but within the region, nationally and internationally. That way we are at the heart of everything that happens in the city."

The BUSINESSiQ Awards - covering firms across the North East - will be hosted by Alfie Joey at Ramside Hall on Friday 28th April 2023 and our headline speaker will be TV business guru Sara Davies.  The hall will be the venue for a black tie Champagne reception with a three-course meal, entertainment, guest speakers and awards across a wide range of sectors.


How to nominate someone

Scan the code in the picture above and it will take you to a nominations form to name your business heroes, or CLICK HERE for the same form


How to be an Awards partner


If you would like to join the university in backing one of the categories at our awards, just drop a line to


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