As 2012 draws to a close, it's been another turbulent twelve months for the economy. This was the year we went back into recession - but also the year that unemployment fell.
At the heart of the story are the region's businesses - desperately trying to grow despite all the cuts. Since January, we've been following the fortunes of twelve of them in the ITV Business Club.
All this week we'll be looking back on their year. We begin with two firms who've been forced to look further afield for success.
More top news
Geordie TV star Ant McPartlin has been charged with drink driving
A bus driver has admitted causing death by careless driving after his single-decker surged across a road and killed a shopper.
As Ant McPartlin return to rehab, his co-host and best friend Declan Donnelly has announced he'll host Saturday Night Takeaway on his own.