A team of highly-experienced partners have been appointed to spearhead the new Scaleup North East programme.

Led by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and delivered by RTC North, Scaleup North East aims to create and sustain more scaleup businesses in the North East economy.

It forms a key part of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to deliver 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

Laura Foster, Craig Huntingdon and Andrew Esson have joined RTC North as Scaleup North East Partners.

The partners will use their vast business experience to unlock the potential of the North East’s most progressive businesses and act as change agents for the region.

With 18 years’ experience in corporate communications, Laura Foster has worked across a diverse range of industry settings and has first-hand, board-level experience of running a successful SME business. 

In 2005, Laura joined Admiral PR & Marketing and, as client services director, was instrumental in its growth to a top 150 UK agency, representing a number of high-growth SMEs, regional economic campaigns and specialising in the technology, healthcare and higher education sectors.

Craig Huntingdon is a multi-disciplined executive with extensive board-level experience in large multinationals and dynamic, early stage businesses.

Previous roles include Trading Director at AIdi, where he was responsible for commercial activities during a 10-year period when turnover increased from £265m to over £1 billion.

Craig then founded Dentist Direct/Love Dental Group – the first UK dental franchise model, selling, opening and operating five territories in the UK and UAE.

In 2017, he researched, financed and co-founded Vision Analytics, a business that uses image analysis and machine learning to provide the retail sector with actionable data to improve on-shelf availability, sales and wastage.

Andrew Esson is a leading North East industrialist who has achieved regional and national recognition for his leadership of North East manufacturing businesses.

After 27 years working for global engineering corporations Weir Group, Rolls-Royce and latterly Continental AG, Andrew joined Quick Hydraulics as Managing Director in 2011. Where he was responsible for a Management Buy-in, transforming the business from lifestyle to professionally run SME, increasing turnover from £2.5m to £3.4m

Andrew has had extensive experience of managing, acquiring, divesting and growing value in businesses. 

Having since operated in an advisory and non-executive capacity, for a number of regional businesses, Andrew is also a Member of the EEF NE Regional Council. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

RTC North delivers a range of services across the North of England designed to help businesses innovate, compete and grow. Jason Legget, Programme Director for Scaleup North East, said:

“Scaleup North East is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs to access world-class help to grow their business.

“We’re delighted to welcome Craig, Andrew and Laura to the team and are confident their collective skills and experience will really unlock the potential of North East businesses and provide invaluable scaleup support.”

There are a small number of spaces for the official launch of the Scaleup North East programme, which takes place in Newcastle on Friday 26 January and you can sign up here.

Recruitment is on-going for further Scaleup Partners to join the team. For more information, visit https://rtcnorth.nrgplc.com/