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Local business champions from the North East show global ambition

Throughout 2017, LDC is searching the entrepreneurial heartlands of England, Scotland and Wales as part of its Backing Business Ambition tour, to uncover and showcase Britain's most inspiring and ambitious businesses.

Over the past two decades, the North East has begun investing heavily into its entrepreneurial ecosystem, with small-to-medium-sized firms receiving an estimated £500m from dedicated funding vehicles during that period.

Official statistics suggest that for every £1 of public investment, the private sector added at least £2 of backing, creating a massive boost for the region as a whole.

Four of the most exciting firms hailing from the North East include virtual reality specialist ZeroLight, cycling giant ZyroFisher, the maker of botanically-brewed soft drinks Fentimans, and Polar Krush, which has reinvented the slushie for the health-conscious consumer.

Behind every one of these businesses is an entrepreneur who is not only a passionate advocate for their region, but one with global ambitions.

“The North East is a big exporting region, so we’ve always been very active outside the UK,” says ZeroLight’s Darren Jobling, who has opened offices in China, Germany and Silicon Valley. “With software, it doesn’t matter where you’re based in the world, if you’re good at what you do people will find you.”

Fentimans boss Eldon Robson also has bold plans to generate 50pc of revenue from exports. “International sales currently represent around 30pc of what we do,” he says. “But we’ve seen huge growth from northern Europe and the US loves our drinks too.”

Backing Business Ambition 2017