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.