With so much business success across the North East, we knew that in 2023 we needed to find the right way to recognise, applaud and reward companies large and small that were contributing to the region's ever-growing profile.

So a few months ago we announced the first BUSINESSiQ Awards, to take place at Ramside Hall on April 28th, hosted by Alfie Joey and with a keynote speech from Dragon's Den star Sara Davies.

You still have until 22 January 2023 to tell us about your business heroes, who are the people who are making a difference and deserve to be recognised at our big night.

  • To nominate someone for a BUSINESSiQ Award, CLICK HERE

We are looking for names and companies in the following categories:

Training and Skills Award 

With so many developments and investments in the region, having the right skills at the right time is vital. Which individuals or organisations are making the difference here and helping the region be ready for growth? 

Innovation Award 

We want to recognise the new ideas, processes, hardware or software that is set to change our lives. Who has done something no one has managed before to strengthen a sector and enhance a market? 

New Business of the Year 

You need courage and vision to launch a new business. Who has all that and  is impressing as they take the first few steps on the road to growth and job creation? 

Creative Business of the Year 

From digital pioneers to film-makers, designers and architects, we’re looking for that creative spark that is lighting up the region. Who’s creating change in the North East? 

Export Champion Award 

Having global clients means products and services of the highest quality. Who is flying the flag for the region by taking their goods around the world and attracting attention and investment?

Diversity and Inclusion Award 

There has to be opportunity for all – that’s what this region was built on. So who has impressed you with their strategies and policies, but also with their passion for fairness and determination to deliver equality everywhere? 

The Northern Echo: The stunning lobby at The Bishops SuiteThe stunning lobby at The Bishops Suite (Image: Press release)

Employee Health and Wellbeing Award 

Our most vital assets need looking after, nurturing and supporting. In such challenging times, who is making sure staff from the boardroom to the shopfloor are coping and are part of an understanding workplace family?

Community Impact Award 

As well as investing in its own business, our great companies support the communities they are a part of. We need to find those who play a key role in your town, village or city and go above and beyond to help out. 

Net Zero Award 

The North East is the new energy capital of the UK, driven by the need to cut back on emissions and help get the whole country to Net Zero. We are looking for the companies and individuals who are leading that mission and setting the pace as the world watches.

And then to finish the night, the Business of the Year and - chosen by BUSINESSiQ - the Inspirational Leader of the Year 

Our host, writer, comic, actor and presenter Alfie Joey told us the Awards will be a particularly special occasion for him: ‘As a County Durham lad, who was brought up in a Northern Echo household, I am so proud to host the first BUSINESSiQ awards.

The Northern Echo: Our host Alfie JoeyOur host Alfie Joey (Image: Press release)

“Sometimes in the North East we can feel left behind, cut off or not recognised for the great work we do, so now is the time to shine a light on our brilliant businesses.

“This will be the perfect occasion to sing from the rooftops about the exciting local visionaries and companies who really are making waves in the world of business."

And who better to be our VIP guest than Sara Davies MBE, who grew up in County Durham and still lives in the region. She founded Crafter's Companion, a crafter's supply company, whilst at university in 2005.

In 2019, she joined BBC Two's Dragons' Den as the show's youngest ever female investor and became a household name in 2021 when she was a contestant on BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing.

The Northern Echo: Our guest speaker, Sara DaviesOur guest speaker, Sara Davies (Image: Press release)

She said: "It won't come as a shock to many people that I’m really proud to call the North East my home - I talk about it a lot!

"Just one of the reasons that I'm so proud of our region is because it's overflowing with innovation and ideas being realised by hardworking, determined people with tons of tenacity. It’s an honour to be here to recognise some of that amazing success.”

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The North East businesses BUSINESSiQ has been working with over the past year also wasted no time backing the awards as sponsors for key categories that there were passionate about.

Among the leading businesses that have already said they will join us on April 28th are Sunderland UniversityFitfactoryrazorblueAtkins and Esh, and we will be announcing the final line-up of partners very shortly.

If you would like to join us for a night to remember, just drop a line to ryan.fenwick@localiq.co.uk

It's going to be special - jot the date down in your diary, April 28th, Ramside Hall.