A delegation of investors from Spain has arrived in the region to see its many specialist facilities and innovations, and understand key opportunities in the health & technology space.

It follows hot on the heels of 2022 analysis by accountancy firm EY published last week, which  revealed that North East England is now in the top 10 UK regions for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), having enjoyed the fastest growth in projects across the UK.

The packed itinerary for the Spanish mission involved the group meeting local health tech businesses, hearing from the National Innovation Centre for Data and a tour of Newcastle Helix, the landmark 24-acre hybrid city quarter built for international businesses working in science and technology. A main focus of the visit was to share knowledge and insights from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), based on Newcastle Helix.

Nic Palmarini, Director of NICA, said of the visit: “This visit is part of a broader programme of initiatives aimed at promoting and sharing the novel digital assets for ageing and longevity which we are creating in the North East, as well as creating new partnerships with stakeholders across the global landscape.”

The delegates included Spanish health tech companies, the Department of Business and Trade and an advisor from the Nagusi Intelligence Center, a centre for public-private collaboration that aims to transform the challenges of an ageing population into opportunities for economic and social development.  

Rachel Burdis, Invest North East England’s Inward Investment Manager, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our visitors from Spain this week and to promote the vast array of healthy ageing and technology opportunities within the North East region.”

The visit, hosted by Invest North East England (INEE), the region’s inward investment agency, comes just days after another delegation visited TechNExt, a festival launched earlier this year to celebrate and showcase all the region’s blossoming technology sector has to offer investors from all over the world.

Among the 3,000-plus international festival attendees were INEE’s visitors, which included tech companies, Department of Business and Trade officers, and technology trade association Tech UK.

Over three days, the group enjoyed various events, meetings and tours across the region, providing them with insight into the unique opportunities within the technology sector. The visitors were also taken to fringe events which formed part of the TechNExt festival, including a breakfast meeting with Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Labour’s front bench spokesperson for digital, science and research matters, and travelled to Durham for a technology industry dinner.

The group met with business support specialists from the Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley and Innovation SuperNetwork, toured PROTO, the Gateshead-based emerging technology centre with its new virtual production test stage, and attended the main event conference at Sunderland’s City Hall.

Rachel Burdis added: “It’s been a brilliant and busy summer so far with delegates coming from all over the world; from the US and Canada, and Europe through to Singapore, introducing them to the North East of England and showcasing our expertise, facilities and opportunities in digital and technology, healthy ageing, and life sciences amongst other things.

“Visitors have told us they’ve been impressed, not only by our strengths in data, AI, and immersive technologies, but also in our breadth of expertise and talent across the five regional universities, specialist business support organisations, and our national innovation centres. North East England is well and truly open for business!”

 To find out more about how INEE can help your business thrive in the North East, visit investnortheastengland.co.uk.