Dragons' Den star Sara Davies sent out a rallying call to Teesside businesses.

Giving the keynote speech at the first BUSINESSiQ Awards event at Ramside Hall, the founder of Crafter's Companion described the region as 'awesome' but said it needed to show more confidence and shout about its success.

"'I think it's the same for people in general, but certainly in the North East we are so humble. Nobody ever stands up and says, You know what? I'm bloody awesome and our business is absolutely cracking."

Sara, who received a surprise on the night when she was called back to the stage and presented with a Special Recognition award for her success, said: "If you win an award or are just shortlisted, you need to be shouting about it with your staff, with your family with everybody in this region. We need to share more of the success that we have up here because then we become the role models for the next generation of businesses.

"People don't realise what an impact they can have on others - there are businesses in this room who were role models as I started my business career 18 years ago."

Sara said her business had changed her and given her the confidence to keep growing it.

"All of this exterior, the big confidence thing that you see, this wasn't me 18 years ago. I was that little shy kid from Coundon and used to get the heebie jeebies just gone on the train to London, let alone leaving the country.

The Northern Echo: Sara Davies talks to the awards audienceSara Davies talks to the awards audience (Image: Newsquest)

"But I had to push myself out of the comfort zone to go and do that stuff to get the word out about the product on both a national and a global level."

She told the audience at the awards how proud she was of the changes businesses are making across the reigon: "People from the North East, we get it. Even the people that leave the North East seem to gravitate back here -  there's just a feeling about it. 

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"As long as you can recruit people who have a vision and want to develop a team with you, there's no stopping you - I'm a firm believer in what can happen if they're here, and they love the business, and they have the right attitude.

"I have certianly learned over my 18-year career that the business is only as successful as the people that stand behind me. I am one person out of more than 200 in our company and my job is to provide the leadership, the vision and the excitement to the people who get up every day wanting to come to work, feeling like they're going to change the world."


The Northern Echo: Our BUSINESSiQ award winnersOur BUSINESSiQ award winners (Image: Newsquest)

Announcing the Special Recognition Award, host Alfie Joey said: "We couldn't let this opportunity pass to applaud one of our own who's gone on to spread the word about the brilliance of the North East.

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"BUSINESSiQ applauds that success and honours the Great North East businesswoman that you are."

Holding the unique trophy, Sara said: "I'm going to be shouting this from the rooftops and I want to see everybody else doing that as well. Honestly. I just don't know what to say - what a privilege, thank you so much."