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
A young couple from Wallsend - Abbie Douglas and Sam Younganan - describe hearing gun shots in the Tunisian resort of Sousse
Temperatures on the rise from Tuesday. Some very warm and muggy nights to come
A British holidaymaker captured the scene on a Tunisian beach after a gunman opened fire at a beach resort in Sousse on Friday.