(L - R): Elaine Stroud, James Robson MBE, Sir Graham Wylie CBE, Brendon Hayward and Yvonne Bell.
(L - R): Elaine Stroud, James Robson MBE, Sir Graham Wylie CBE, Brendon Hayward and Yvonne Bell.

North East’s largest entrepreneurial network marks new chapter with Chair appointment

The North East’s largest entrepreneurial network, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, has announced the appointment of its new Chair.

Brendon Hayward steps into the role as Chair of the Forum and succeeds James Robson MBE, who has held the position for the maximum tenure of six years.

The news was announced during the Forum’s 2024 Chairman’s Dinner which was held at The Biscuit Factory on Thursday 25th January and welcomed Sir Graham Wylie CBE, of Sage Group, as guest speaker and Yvonne Bell as host.

Brendon is best known for co-founding Northumberland based engineering firm Osbit which specialises in the design and build of equipment for offshore renewable energy production. Since inception, Osbit has generated cumulative sales of around £225m and currently employs over 100 people, with a turnover exceeding £40m.

Brendon has been ‘instrumental’ in creating and nurturing a supportive working culture at Osbit, which has included the making of its apprenticeship and student placement scheme and its personal development programme.

This compliments his role as Chair of Northbourne Street Youth Initiative, a charity which supports the development of young people based in Elswick and the West End of Newcastle through activities and achievement.

Commenting on his appointment, Brendon said: “I’m immensely proud and inspired by what the North East has achieved and its rich history of innovation. We have an amazing region, with equally amazing people, but still a lot of untapped potential.

“Being able to support entrepreneurs and help realise our true capability by becoming Chair of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum is an honour. I will be standing on the shoulders of giants, both previous Chairmen of the Forum, as well as the great leaders and innovators who left their mark on the world from right here in the North East.”

James Robson MBE added: “After six years in post, I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my career and in continuing my work with emerging North East businesses, some of whom I have met during my time as Chair of the Forum.

“Brendon has a proven track record of driving innovation and success. I know that his experience will contribute significantly to the Forum's ongoing initiatives, ensuring that it continues to be a dynamic network for entrepreneurs to connect, learn, and collaborate.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily
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