The message is clear: the North East can build on its strengths to create jobs and growth.
That is the confident prediction from the former Labour cabinet minister, Lord Adonis, who is leading a review of the region's economy.
Lord Adonis has been commissioned by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership - the body charged with kick-starting the economy across Tyneside, Wearside, Northumberland and County Durham.
He is joined by figures as varied as the Bishop of Durham and the Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, Heidi Mottram.
Lord Adonis took on the role in September. This week he is on a whistle-stop tour of the North East, speaking to representatives from the worlds of business, industry, education and culture.
His mission: to learn what is helping and hindering the North East economy.
Lord Adonis says he wants to identify key priorities to help the region grow.
In tough economic times, Lord Adonis says it is important to make the best use of investment opportunities. Ultimately, he says his six month review boils down to one key factor:
The commission will look ahead to the next two decades. It is expected to report back with its findings in the spring.