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New inward investment director to help bring new business and create jobs

28th June 2012

Categories: Latest News

Newcastle and Gateshead will gain greater competitive edge in attracting new investment and jobs when the second in command at MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, joins NewcastleGateshead Initiative, to head a new team to attract inward investment.

The new inward investment director, Catherine Walker, will lead a new team, hosted on behalf of Gateshead and Newcastle Councils by the successful destination marketing agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.  Catherine is currently head of business development at MIDAS, and previously headed up the business tourism team at Marketing Manchester. She brings a wealth of experience and contacts, and will work with a network of private and public-sector partners to bring new jobs and investment into the area.

The business winning team will act as a central ‘hub’ for co-ordinating inward investment activity across Gateshead and Newcastle, working closely with the two councils, private sector networks, and across the region with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. It will define the offer to potential inward investors and identify and proactively target specific sectors and companies to generate investment leads.  Catherine’s team will work alongside the existing expertise of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, who for over ten years have demonstrated a successful track record of promoting the area within the UK and around the world.

The team will also co-ordinate responses to investment enquiries in liaison with the two councils, working collaboratively to respond to enquiries from business and the national UKTI networks, thereby avoiding duplication and providing an efficient and streamlined response, to maximise the conversion of investment leads into jobs and economic growth.

A more active approach to securing investment fits alongside other initiatives that will help ensure NewcastleGateshead is open for business, despite the recession. The two councils have put together proposals for an Accelerated Development Zone, to boost private investment in key development sites around Gateshead and Newcastle.  Businesses will be attracted to the unique opportunities on offer and a track record of success in areas that include the marine and offshore engineering sector; digital, creative and cultural industries; professional and financial services; science; manufacturing; retail; health; and environmental technologies.

Catherine Walker commented: “It’s a great opportunity to work with such a committed network of organisations and individuals, who share a passion for this area. There is fierce competition out there from major cities across the world.  But I’m confident that NewcastleGateshead and the wider North East offers unique assets that will continue to prove attractive for investors, bringing new jobs and opportunities for the long-term. I’m relishing that challenge.”

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, said: “To secure a working city for the future, we need to be able to create the best possible conditions for our existing businesses to succeed, and also compete at a global level to create the jobs of tomorrow.  At a time of recession, we should shout even more loudly about being open for business.”

Leader of Gateshead Council, Mick Henry, said: “Attracting inward investment is as vital to our success as nurturing our home-grown talent. That’s why we’ve decided that the time is right to create a dedicated team, led by Catherine, which can really push the excellent offer we have here. We already know that with an outstanding workforce, first-class facilities and support from an ambitious local authority we have a very attractive package to offer. Now we’ve got one team tasked with making sure that businesses everywhere know just what they can achieve in Gateshead and Newcastle.”

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said; “We’re delighted to have Catherine on board. With public and private-sector partners who are supporting this new project, we’ve already identified how we can work together to comprehensively identify and respond to investment interest from a wide range of sources. By building a wide range of networks and working together, we will be able to respond effectively to exciting investment opportunities.”

The new Business Winning network will be championed by the NewcastleGateshead Business Growth Commission, to be chaired by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Charlie Falconer. A group of respected and influential ambassadors will act as advocates and advisors for NewcastleGateshead, using their business knowledge, networks and contacts to “open doors” with investors and key decision makers and provide a strategic sounding board, to ensure NewcastleGateshead is well placed to attract investment from across the globe.  


For media enquiries contact:

David Bootle

Media and PR Manager

T. +44 (0)191 440 5728

M. +44 (0)7932 642714


Notes to editors:

  • NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 165 private sector member organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region.
  • All of our activity aims to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a world-class vibrant tourism destination, through targeted marketing and PR campaigns nationally and internationally and through the work of our cultural programming team, convention bureau and investment teams.
  • NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to promote NewcastleGateshead as a world-class place in which to live, learn, work, and visit.

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