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Bringing the world stage to the North East

CEO Steve Hare discusses Sage becoming naming partner for the NewcastleGateshead Quays development.

"We hope to help people realise their ambitions and support our customers and SMEs in the region to thrive."

27 JAN 2022

Shifting priorities towards delivering long-term economic growth will be a determining factor in the success of the Government’s levelling up agenda. Many of us eagerly await the long-promised levelling up whitepaper, which should iron out plans to tackle the UK’s longstanding inequalities and increase economic opportunities.

This should therefore be the UK’s moment – our best opportunity to glide out of the often-slippery starting blocks in pursuit of Boris Johnson’s vision for a ‘high wage, high skill’ economy. Small and medium-sized business optimism is growing, and the Government is aiming to zero in on its levelling up agenda. Everything about these ambitions mean we should have our best chance in years for a renewed focus on businesses delivering economic growth across the country. That’s the vision, but we know that unequal access to opportunity means that’s not always the reality. Barriers are complex and multiple, but we’re determined to help make a change.

Let’s look at Sage’s journey. Sage was born 40 years ago in a pub on Newcastle’s Quayside, before the old Baltic Flour Mill became an art gallery and way before the Millennium Bridge joined its neighbours as one of Newcastle's iconic bridges. Sage is the brainchild of a local entrepreneur who sparked a digital accounting revolution. Over the years we’ve reinforced our commitment to the region that made us who we are today. We recognise the region’s value and believe in its unique talent and culture. We’ve grown to a 11,000-strong colleague population around the world, made Newcastle our Global HQ and specifically designed our Cobalt office as an engineering and innovation hub with collaborative spaces to help encourage creativity. We’ve been passionate about bringing and retaining high-skilled talent in engineering and technology from the very beginning.

I’m fortunate enough to see the growing opportunity that comes with investment in the North East every day. We know we have a bigger role to play and it’s with great excitement that we today announce that we are the naming partner for the NewcastleGateshead Quays development on the banks of the River Tyne, to be named The Sage, with £10m investment. This partnership will bring the world stage to our hometown.

Due to open in 2024, The Sage will be the largest business and entertainment development in the North East and a community-focussed, state-of-the-art international venue. It has been created by the community for the community to bring the world to the North East. Through supply chain contracts for local businesses, the creation of 2,000 jobs and the goal to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through work experience opportunities - there will be chances for members of the local community. Knocking down barriers to access, networking and entertainment that might be out of reach for some. And Sage colleagues will have opportunities to volunteer via the Sage Foundation’s community projects in and around the NewcastleGateshead Quay development and take part in ‘Give Back Days’ where digital skills are passed onto underrepresented groups.

Everything comes back to our Purpose - Knocking Down Barriers So Everyone Can Thrive. This announcement has our purpose at its core and builds on the work we’ve been doing over the past year to serve our colleagues, customers, society and shareholders. Last June we opened Cobalt’s doors to colleagues and partners with the launch of our Sustainability and Society strategy – Knocking Down Barriers – with the goal to tackle societal and economic inequality so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Much of our focus being on supporting local communities with the skills to take control of their lives and knock down barriers to unlock their full potential. We’ve extended our Sage Pathways programme to support those in the North East who are looking to re-enter the workplace following a career break and have invested £1.4m Small Business Growth Programme to provide training and tools to up to 62,500 micro and small businesses in our home region.

This announcement is significant as we hope to help people realise their ambitions and support our customers and SMEs in the region to thrive. Bringing a £70m annual boost to the local economy – the Sage has been designed as a sustainable venue that brings long-term economic growth. The Sage is the next chapter in our history and we’re excited to champion local businesses, underrepresented communities and provide the boost to the economy people and the UK Government are hoping for.

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