Entrepreneurs’ Forum board members and members met Jake Berry, the new Northern Powerhouse Minister, as part of his first official visit outside of London.

At an event co-hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, along with Tees Valley Combined Authority, the CBI, the FSB and the North East England Chamber of Commerce, Mr Berry met business leaders at Teesside University’s Darlington campus, where he was welcomed to the region by recently elected Tees Valley Metro Mayor Ben Houchen. At the event he pledged the Government’s ongoing support for the Northern Powerhouse project, he praised the Tees Valley region for its early adoption of the devolution deal, and he promised new funding to support business growth.

Jake Berry said: “I’m delighted to be here in the Tees Valley supporting your new mayor Ben Houchen. Ben is going to be an absolutely key player in delivering the Northern Powerhouse. We will be working together to ensure that we get the right investment in infrastructure, in education and in business in the Tees Valley.

“The Tees Valley has stolen a march on so many other places in the North of England by being one of the first three mayoral regions, and we’re going to see hundreds of millions of pounds of new money invested to make sure this remains a fantastic place to open, grow and start a business.”

Entrepreneurs’ Forum Chairman Nigel Mills said: “Our members will be pleased to hear the Government’s commitment to support growing businesses in the Northern Powerhouse, including the Tees Valley. While support for people starting new businesses is also vital, all net jobs growth in our economy comes from scale-up companies growing. In the North East and Tees Valley, the areas most in need of an economic boost, the potential of high-growth companies to add billions to the regional economy is more important than anywhere else, so business will be interested to see what form the support the minister mentioned will take.”