A director has been appointed to oversee the Scaleup North East initiative, which is designed to create more than 6,000 jobs across the region.
Jason Legget will join the programme in February 2018, bringing with him substantial experience of developing and leading major economic, business development and innovation programmes.
He has worked with the likes of Trinity Mirror and Sunderland University, and is currently project director for the £4.2m Creative Fuse Northeast programme.
Scaleup North East, which will launch in January, is being implemented by RTC North as part of the North East Growth Hub. The programme will support companies with the ambition and drive to achieve a "real step change in business growth".
The ultimate aim of the project is to increase the number of scaleups in the region by 50 per cent before 2024.
Andrew Buckley, chief executive of RTC North, said: "We are delighted to have Jason on board to lead this high profile initiative. RTC has been supporting North East businesses for 30 years and is incredibly proud to be delivering the Scaleup North East programme.
"Jason has a wealth of expertise and established relationships with key stakeholders in the region that will be invaluable in delivery of this programme."
Legget added: "I am really excited to be leading this programme and look forward not only to working with the region's existing scale up businesses, helping them to overcome any barriers to continued growth, but also to identifying and nurturing the next generation of scale up businesses."
Scaleup North East is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.