Game-changing £160Million Investment Zone To Supercharge Region’s Digital And Creative Strengths

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 6th March 2024

A new scheme to unleash the strengths of digital and creative companies in the Tees Valley has been confirmed – bringing with it £160million of Government cash.  

The Government today (6 March) announced the Tees Valley Investment Zone.  

This aims to increase inward investment, productivity and jobs in the region’s digital and creative technology sectors across the Tees Valley.  

Home to world-leading companies in these sectors, the Investment Zone will seek to bolster the region’s strength even further with investment in infrastructure, skills and workforce development, business support, planning and research and innovation. 

The Investment Zone is primed to help create more than 2,000 jobs and, potentially, unlock £175million of investment in the next decade.  

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority worked with Teesside University as a co-signatory and the Tees Valley Business Board to develop the proposals. The Business Board has been positioned to provide oversight on the further development and delivery of the proposals to engage with businesses and ensure the Tees Valley Investment Zone is business-led.   

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Teesside is a powerhouse on the country’s digital scene and we’re proud of the global leaders we have in the gaming and creative industries.  

“I’m delighted the Government has given us the green light on our Investment Zone to supercharge our digital and creative potential, and really put a fire under our ambitions. 

“Ultimately, it will mean people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will be able to take on well paid jobs in cutting-edge industries close to home, rather than moving away to Manchester or London. We’ll foster our talent here and create places to ensure that talent has even more reason to stay. 

“This is another massive boost which will bring thousands more jobs for local people and the knock-on benefits of injecting hundreds of millions of pounds into our economy.”    

Announced by the Chancellor in the 2022 Autumn Statement, Investment Zones are aimed at boosting high-potential sectors in areas in need of levelling up to increase productivity and growth.  

There will be £160million invested in the zone over a ten-year period.  

Government will continue to work with TVCA, Teesside University and other local partners to co-develop the plans for their digital and creative Investment Zone. This includes agreeing priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, ahead of final confirmation of plans. 

Digital and creative innovation plays a crucial role in supporting the digitisation of all sectors and the Investment Zone will provide specialist support to businesses in the sector to boost productivity, create jobs and help transform communities across the region. 

Siobhan McArdle, Chair of the Business Board, said: “The Business Board welcomes the opportunity the Investment Zone offers to all businesses across the Tees Valley. We already have great strength in our Digital, Createch, Medtech and Greentech sectors and this additional investment and support will enable us to drive further innovation and growth across these strategically important clusters.”   

Pneuma Group, the parent company of Middlesbrough-based video games developer and publisher Double Eleven, has committed to making the first new major contribution to the Investment Zone.  

The group as a whole is investing at least £15million, primarily to support Double Eleven’s growth but also the dynamism of the region.  

This includes investment in fit-out for commercial spaces and new, state-of-the-art offices for the games company to further scale its production capacity as well as increase its attractiveness to talents globally, while ensuring its teams have access to top-tier technology. 

Kimberley Turner, Chief Finance Officer of Double Eleven, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to help boost the dynamism of the region in support of our ambitions. 

“We believe that our investment will allow us to offer even more premium job opportunities, strengthening our position as a key employer in the sector as we compete with other game studios globally. “ 

Professor Craig Gaskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange) at Teesside University, said: “Teesside University continues to play a significant role in the growth of the Tees Valley’s thriving creative and digital sector. Our talented graduates have created many of the region’s most successful and innovative businesses.  

“By further developing this exciting sector, the new Tees Valley Investment Zone will unlock huge opportunities for our students, through the creation of high-quality jobs and fostering an environment where their entrepreneurial ambitions can be realised. 

“As an institution which is internationally renowned for the quality of its digital, animation and computing courses, we are delighted to be the knowledge anchor for the Tees Valley Investment Zone. We look forward to working with partners to drive innovation and deliver key skills and impactful research which will enable the future success of these vital industries.” 

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