The event was free to attend and brought together small businesses, government ministers, Northern Mayors, and business leaders from across the North of England to help to shape the next stage of the Northern Powerhouse through panel discussions, exhibitions, workshops and speeches.
It was held at the Boiler Shop, an iconic venue on the site where 19th century engineer George Stephenson designed the world’s first locomotive – the Rocket.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: “The Northern Powerhouse is a top priority for our government and it is right that it should be central to the Great Exhibition of the North.
“The last Great Exhibition was in 1851, when the North was powering the Industrial Revolution. This summit is about making sure that the Northern Powerhouse is creating a Northern economy fit for the future with the North at the forefront of a fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Appointed by the Great Exhibition of the North, the delivery team consisted of Newcastle-based events management company, BeaconHouse Events, who teamed up with iconic Northern designer, Wayne Hemingway, and through his multi-disciplinary creative agency HemingwayDesign, together managed the technical delivery and production of the event. The programme for the Summit was curated by Thinking Digital, Digital Catapult and Sunderland Software City.
Themes of discussions across the three-day Summit included how the Northern Powerhouse can be at the forefront of the fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0 – and the government’s Industrial Strategy, including the role of the North in the ‘Grand Challenges’ of growing the Artificial Intelligence and data driven economy, clean growth, the future of mobility and an ageing society.
A number of workshops were also delivered by Northern businesses, designed to provide a more in-depth look at these themes. Workshops included practical sessions on designing for an ageing population, the future of work, digital transformation and building a Northern industrial strategy.
The programme shone a spotlight on innovative startups and trailblazing scaleups that call the North their home, and delegates were inspired by stories of innovation from across industries.
The high-profile line-up of speakers included: Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, Collette Roche, COO of Manchester United, Sarah Weir, CEO of the Design Council, Elaine Warburton, CEO QuantuMDx; Pam Warhust, founder of Incredible Edible; Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth.
Laura Partridge, Innovation Champion, Great Exhibition of the North – who led the event and managed the delivery team, said: “The Summit was a fantastic opportunity for us to bring to life many of the themes of the Great Exhibition of the North and showcased some of the region’s most exciting innovations. The event stimulated new business conversations, kickstarted debate and highlighted new ideas and plans of the Northern economy.
“Like much of the Great Exhibition of the North, the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit celebrated collaboration. By bringing together businesses of all scales, from multiple sectors, the Summit was a chance for the region’s newest businesses to inspire and be inspired. This is just one way that the Great Exhibition will leave a lasting legacy.”
Paul Szomoru, Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “We were thrilled that NewcastleGateshead was to host this significant government event which brought together leaders from across the public and private sector for the first time to help shape the next stage of the Northern Powerhouse.
“The speakers were all outstanding leaders in their field and some of the topics covered, including AI and ageing societies, are areas of specialism here in the North East – so it was fantastic to share all the life-changing developments happening here.”
“NewcastleGateshead has a reputation for its innovative spirit – it’s home to the inventors of the light bulb and the steam turbine and to this day it leads in many ground-breaking innovations. The fact that the event took place at one of our newest event spaces, Boiler Shop – the very site where Robert and George Stephenson built the first steam locomotion – is testament to this Summit being a celebration of Northern innovation at its best. I left the event truly inspired and proud of what Northern England has to offer.”
Photo credit: TyneSight Photographic Service