The North East business community has stepped forward to back the BUSINESSiQ Awards, which will take place on Thursday April 25 at Ramside Hall.

There will be a room full of applause and celebration as businesses and their leaders move into the spotlight.

Among the businesses making it all possible is one of the great cultural attractions in our region - the Sunderland Empire, which is sponsoring the headline Business of the Year award

Theatre Director Marie Nixon told us: “We feel like there’s never been a better time to support the BUSINESSiQ Awards, we rely on the support from local businesses to help us share the excitement of upcoming shows – which just get bigger and better every year. We wanted to get involved to celebrate the huge successes we see daily in the business community of the North East.

“Business of the Year is an exceptional achievement that will truly honour a strong, successful business, that is pioneering in their field. We recently won an award and we’ve seen huge benefits with this recognition, so we’re looking forward to helping the nominated businesses shout about their fantastic successes.”

  • Tickets for the BUSINESSiQ Awards on April 25 are available HERE

Marie said the whole region was playing a starring role at the moment.

She told us: “There are huge changes in Sunderland at the moment, more and more businesses are seeing the opportunities presented with bringing their businesses here. Sunderland is seeing an incredible change in retail, hospitality, and culture, we are thrilled to be at the epicentre of this exciting change.

“We have been welcoming cultural audiences into the city for over 115 years and will proudly continue to do so for many years to come.”

There are challenges, of course, but there is as North East approach to challenge that is coming to the fore when it is needed most.

“The challenges we are all facing is the current cost of living, this can have a devastating effect on the business landscape of the region – luckily our region rallies together and supports each other, and the independent business scene is strong,” said Marie,

“Covid was obviously a really difficult time for live entertainment, theatre offers escapism to audiences and to go so long without it was a struggle to many. It has left us with added value and appreciation to be experiencing the best that live theatre has to offer – with some fabulous shows direct from the West End.

The Northern Echo: What a night we had at last year's inaugural awardsWhat a night we had at last year's inaugural awards (Image: Newsquest)

“We have a fantastic year ahead at Sunderland Empire as we welcome Disney’s Aladdin, Pretty Woman, & Juliet, Only Fools and Horses and many more exciting shows!

“Our not-for-profit Creative Learning team are going from strength to strength as they provide a range of engaging projects that empowers local people no matter their age, ability, gender, race, or background.

“Feedback has been phenomenal for our 1907 Corporate Club, as we nurture our partnerships with local businesses while providing them with a healthy ticket allocation for client entertaining or treating staff.

“The goal is to welcome more businesses to our list of sponsors and provide bespoke events for our corporate clients as we welcome them for the best theatre shows in the region.”