It has been a proud tradition of The Northern Echo for more than 150 years to give a collective voice to our region, and stand up for what we believe is best for its residents and businesses.

For the last year our Level Up campaign, run under the BUSINESSiQ brand, has been the standard bearer for that commitment to prove the region is united and providing a tailor-made landing strip for investment from across the world.

We have interviewed Chancellors - four of them - held live events, published hundreds of positive stories about businesses and worked with some of the most influential companies to get that message across that the North East is the first place to look for investment and employment opportunities.

  • To nominate someone for a BUSINESSiQ Award, CLICK HERE

Our partners are proof of that - experts in their sectors who work with us so that their opinions and passions can reach the widest possible audience. We work hard all year alongside:

Believe Housing

One of the largest housing associations in the North East of England, it prides itself on putting tenants at the heart of what it does and making them part of a journey in providing better housing, services, homes & communities. 

Nik Turner, executive director of communities and customer services told us recently: “There’s nothing better than a customer as a colleague. They’re in the best place to give the best advice and the best support, and are a fantastic asset for believe housing as well. They live in the community that we serve, they can give real-life examples of the services we provide, whether good, bad or indifferent, and they can also have that level of empathy when a customer rings in because they’re a customer themselves, they know what’s going on.”

The Northern Echo: Our partners at a recent live eventOur partners at a recent live event (Image: Newsquest)


It's purpose is reimagining energy for people and our planet. bp wants to help the world reach net zero and improve people's lives. 

Matt Williamson, the company's  UK Hydrogen lead, told us: "This is just the start of a long and exciting story for bp on Teesside. I have worked at refineries where there have been grandfathers, sons and granddaughters – and that would be my vision for the hydrogen projects here. We’ve got Net Zero targets that go out to 2050 and these projects will still be up and running then and contributing to a low carbon future for Teesside, bp and the UK. So these are jobs, not just for this generattion, but for the next generation as well."

Cummins Inc

A global power leader, a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture. distribute and service a brand portfolio of power solutions. 

Senior Products Support Engineer Wanye Percy: “The journey with Cummins has been fantastic. “It’s given me the opportunity to work in different places around the world, including delivering training in Australia. I’m a North East lad and, when I discovered there was a foodbank in Billingham, it really brought it home to me how much people need help. That’s why I’m so proud to work for a company that cares enough to make a difference.”

Durham County Council

It represents and promotes the interests of County Durham. Through effective local government, the council supports inclusive opportunities for economic development and growth while enabling people to live long, fulfilling and independent lives. 

Council leader Amanda Hopgood: “We’re a county with amazing natural assets – a stunning coastline, beautiful countryside, a UNESCO world heritage site in Durham City, and a collection of world-class visitor attractions. We just need to be better about shouting about what we’ve got. When you become council leader, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by strategy but it’s the people who put you where you are. We must never forget that.”

North East England Chamber of Commerce 
The region's largest business membership organisation representing 3,000+ businesses. It equips firms with access to specialist support and services to grow their business profile. 

Rhiannon Bearne,  policy and representation director: "The policy element is endlessly fascinating from my perspective, but really, it's about using all of that intelligence and all of that insight, and then doing some good in the region - and there's a lot we can do here, as well as the conversations we can have with Government around the big agendas that affect the world we work in."

The Northern Echo: The united voices of our partnersThe united voices of our partners (Image: Newsquest)
Tees Valley Combined Authority
The Tees Valley Combined Authority works in partnership with the five local authorities and local businesses to drive economic growth and create jobs in the area. Chaired by the Tees Valey Mayor it aims to transform the Tees Valley, making it a better place to live, invest and do business in. 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen: "We have been leading the way in green energy for years now - and we can truly power the UK's ambitions to hit Net Zero. Gamechanging projects like Net Zero Teesside, Carbon Capture and Storage, and our vast hydrogen ambitions show we're at the forefront of a fight which will create a greener future but also bring thousands of good, well-paid jobs for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool."

Womble Bond Dickinson

With locations on both sides of the Atlantic, WBD provides the breadth of legal experience and services to meet its clients' needs. 

Nigel Emmerson, head of the Newcastle office: "With the continued commitment to devolution in the Tees Valley and now the wider region, decisions can be made by local people for local people in respect of our transport provision. As a result, we can focus on the projects that are critical to the region’s connectivity and bring the biggest benefits. With the North East grit we are known for and by working together to bridge the gap between problem and solution we should find a way to play to our strengths."

Teesside Freeport

The UK's biggest and first operational Freeport, spanning 4,500 across all five Tees Valley boroughs. Including rail-linked port sites and an international airport it is also the country's best-connected Freeport. It is expected to create 18.000 jobs and add billions to the UK economy in the first five years.

Director Nolan Gray: “You can describe a Freeport in terms of what it's going to achieve - jobs, numbers, GVA, that sort of thing. But for me it offers hope. That could be offering a job helping with the remediation and the construction that's going on at the moment, but you genuinely make a difference to a person’s life, and therefore that family’s life and from that the local economy as well. It’s rare that you get the chance to do that."

The Northern Echo: Business Editor Mike Hughes hosts the eventsBusiness Editor Mike Hughes hosts the events (Image: Newsquest)We started this campaign just as the first wave of Covid was ending so with a very restricted audience for our first live event, but it has grown every time and we now get a full room wherever we are.

In 2023 the campaign is planning to expand again, with exciting new ways to tell our story, including special reports focussing on areas that most directly affect our future.

The campaign is growing and has become a key part of BUSINESSiQ's work in the daily Northern Echo, online HERE, in our flagship quarterly magazine HERE, and wherever we get the chance to support businesses who are redefining what we stand for and what we are known for.

If you want to join our partners in fighting for your region in 2023, drop a line to or