The North East Local Enterprise Partnership brings together business leaders, universities and elected political leaders in the North East UK area. It is the fourth largest local enterprise partnership in the UK, covering the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The aim of the NELEP is to make the North East a place where more businesses invest, grow and prosper, to deliver more and better jobs for everyone. It has set a strategy for economic growth through the North East Strategic Economic Plan and win investment to support its delivery. Together with partners, NELEP champions the North East nationally and globally, promoting its opportunities and capabilities to influence and shape the continued economic growth of the area. 

NELEP has developed one of the most comprehensive and imaginative innovation programmes in the UK, building on and extending smart specialisation principles and developing a world-class innovation eco-system. It is based on an Open Innovation approach and, with local partners, NELEP is putting in place arrangements to ensure the North East Innovation Strategy is overseen by a range of experienced partners from the private and public sector, with involvement from national agencies and local universities. The Innovation Board is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Innovation Strategy, supported by an Executive team and working with a range of innovation hubs, clusters and networks.