Welcome to the second part of the BUSINESSiQ look back at 2023. There was simply too much to get everything in, so apologies if I've missed something important to you - it has certainly been an amazing time to cover the business scene across the North East.

The Northern Echo and its business arm BUSINESSiQ has been determined to play its part by highlighting the investment potential here through constant coverage, the Level Up campaign, live events, BUSINESSiQ Awards and now the Business Brew podcast.

Here is just a summary of the headlines from the second half of the year .

  • Which North East business has particularly impressed you this year? Take a few moments to NOMINATE THEM HERE for a Northern Echo BUSINESSiQ Award


It looks as if Teesside has lost an 800 job cables project, after fears that claims of corruption surrounding the Teesworks site would put off investors. Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has slammed the news as "a kick in the teeth to the people of Teesside".

The huge company that owns Aer Lingus and British Airways is making a 'transformational' investment into a Teesside company. IAG believes Wilton-based Nova Pangaea Technologies is a crucial pathway to the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

A strategy for the future of tech and AI in the North East has been debated at a BUSINESSiQ event in Newcastle. The event was part of the Level Up campaign for jobs and investment and was held at the Newcastle offices of transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.

The Northern Echo: Level Up in NewcastleLevel Up in Newcastle (Image: Newsquest)

A German biofuels manufacturer is to make a £90million investment at its Teesside site. Wilton-based Ensus UK says its parent company plans to make the huge vote of confidence through a series of major projects at its biorefinery.



An insurance giant officially moved 500 staff into a new office in the heart of Middlesbrough. A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke marked AXA UK moving into Six Centre Square, taking up more than half the space in the 40,000 sq ft building.

One of the UK’s biggest ‘green’ hydrogen facilities, being built on Teesside has moved to the next stage of Government funding - with the hope of more than 600 jobs. bp’s green hydrogen project HyGreen Teesside has been selected by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to progress to the next stage of negotiations in its first funding round.

Wootzano, the Sedgefield-based robotics pioneer, has launched an operation in the United States, with its Avarai robotic system leading the way. With this US expansion, Wootzano - which won New Business of the Year at the inaugural BUSINESSiQ Awards - aims to help resolve the struggling labour force in fresh produce packing sheds.

A fund backing growing businesses is celebrating a key milestone after investing more than £275m across the North of England. Twelve thousand jobs have been created and safeguarded because of FW Capital funding.



Amazon announced that recruitment has opened for new staff at its £450 million centre in Stockton. The new recruits will pick, pack and ship customer orders at the state-of-the-art fulfilment centre which opened later in the year.

The Northern Echo: Amazon at StocktonAmazon at Stockton (Image: Newsquest)

A landmark deal worth well over £100million was struck to use British Steel on one the world’s biggest offshore wind plants being built at Teesworks. Steel work is being erected as major progress continues on the £450million SeAH Wind monopile manufacturing facility at South Bank on the former steelworks site. 

A revolutionary new energy project that could be heading to Teesside started looking for partner firms to work with. Rolls Royce has already announced it is leading a consortium to build ‘factory-built’ Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power plants.

The Northern Echo: The Rolls Royce reactorsThe Rolls Royce reactors (Image: Press release)



Bosses at the landmark Cummins engine plant in Darlington have confirmed that jobs could be at risk after a slump in demand. The company said it has had to start talks with the Unite union about 'realigning operating capacities'.

A successful demolition at the former Redcar steelworks has been recognised as one of the best in the world with a major international award. The Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant at the former Redcar steelworks was brought down last October as part of the clearance of Teesworks.

Greggs revealed its sales soared in the latest quarter. The high street bakery chain told shareholders that total sales increased by 20.8% for the 13 weeks to September 30, compared with the same period last year.

The North East Chamber of Commerce was named UK Chamber of the Year 2023 in the British Chambers of Commerce Awards. The prestigious award was presented to the Chamber for their continued efforts to build on the great support they had provided to their members throughout the pandemic.

After an amazing inaugural event earlier this year, the BUSINESSiQ Awards are returning on April 25th 2024 for another highlight of the business year. We loved having Ramside Hall as a venue and Alfie Joey as our host - so we're reuniting the team for next year! 

One of the largest industrial schemes in the North East for more than a decade has been completed and is ready for occupation.



British Steel has today confirmed that hundreds of steel jobs will be coming to Teesside again as an electric arc furnace is to go ahead. This news comes eight years after the closure of Redcar Steelworks.

A major Teesworks project has received a huge boost after the signing of a key partnership deal. SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and Circular Fuels Limited have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to deliver a sustainable liquid petroleum gas replacement from waste material.

Durham-based Atom bank, the UK’s first app based bank, has raised more than £100m of funding. The new equity capital from long-term shareholders BBVA, Toscafund and Infinity Investment Partners is believed to be the largest private capital raise by a digital bank in the UK this year,.

The Materials Processing Institute has appointed Jonathon Stormon from Hexagon Consultants as its interim CEO following Chris McDonald’s decision to stand down from the role he has held for almost a decade.

Northumbria University, Newcastle has secured a total of £50 million in funding to create a world-leading space skills, research and technology centre.

The Northern Echo: The plan for the space centreThe plan for the space centre (Image: Press release)


An award winning robotics pioneer has signed a groundbreaking $47million contract. The three-year agreement for NETPark-based Wootzano is focused on robot sales across the state of California.



Darlington Economic Campus has been confirmed as the second headquarters for the Department for Business and Trade – further establishing the town as major location for UK Government.

The vast size of a new furnace which will bring back steelmaking to Teesside has been revealed in new plans. British Steel has confirmed plans to build a new Electric Arc Furnace at Lackenby, Redcar, which will use greener technology to melt scrap and produce new steel.

Trains manufacturer Hitachi says the Government holds the key to securing the future of its vast Newton Aycliffe plant and 700 staff - after a shock £64million announcement.

Plans for a pioneering new hydrogen project at Teesworks have taken another major step forward. EDF Renewables UK and Hynamics, a 100 per cent subsidiary of EDF Group specialising in hydrogen, have now officially submitted plans for the first phase of its Tees Green Hydrogen project.

SeAH Wind has signed its largest ever contract - securing well over 700 jobs at its Teesworks site.

The Northern Echo: More progress at the SeAH siteMore progress at the SeAH site (Image: Press release)

The Northern Echo’s Level Up campaign continues to grow as the North East begins one of its most exciting phases - with Teesside International Airport agreeing to become our ninth partner.