The first of two events aiming to inform businesses of the vast array of business support services available in County Durham took place on Friday (September 16) at Durham County Cricket Club.
The second DBIE event is due to be held at the Xcel Centre on Aycliffe Business Park tomorrow (Tuesday), 9am-12noon – click here to book your free place.
Organised by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, more than 150 local businesses attended the first event in Chester-le-Street.
The Durham Business Information Exchanges bring together more than 70 business services showcasing how they can help businesses to grow and or diversify, and helping local residents who are thinking of starting a business.
Businesses discussed their needs with a range of business support providers and experts to discuss finance, skills, internships, apprenticeships, and export. Specialists from the chemical, automotive, defence, software, space, creative and manufacturing sectors were on hand to offer support for new opportunities and supply chain development.
In addition, a range of business network associations, including the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, North East England Chamber of Commerce, Engineering Employers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses exhibited to demonstrate their assistance for County Durham businesses.
Business Durham also showcased its own support to businesses, together with Durham County Council services including employability, sustainable transport, planning, procurement, environmental health and consumer protection, and the early years services.
The events are hosted by Business Durham with sponsorship from Lloyds Bank, and Europe Direct North East England.
Sarah Slaven, business development director for Business Durham, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to today’s event from both businesses and exhibitors alike.
“We work with many different businesses every day and we’re delighted that so many County Durham companies have taken the opportunity to engage with the business support network available to them.
“We’re looking forward to meeting businesses from the south of the region at our second event on Tuesday at The Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.”
Business Durham would like to thank Lloyds Bank for their sponsorship of both events as part of its Manufacturing Growth Programme.
Sonya Atkins, area director for SME Banking in Durham & Wearside, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “This inaugural event is a great opportunity for local businesses to come down and get expert guidance from a range of specialist advisers who really understand the regional business landscape.
“Durham remains an exciting place to do business and through our support of these events and our network of specialist local relationship managers, we are confident we can continue help firms in the region meet their individual growth objectives and make a real contribution to the area’s bright economic outlook.”
The events are also supported by Europe Direct North East England.
Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The economy is one of our top priorities and we welcome every opportunity to help businesses in County Durham start up and grow.
“There are many European funded business support providers at the events and I would encourage businesses to find out how these programmes can support them to set up, improve design and competitiveness and explore the networks to help sustain and grow your business.”
• Pictured (above, left to right): Caroline Taukulis, strategic account manager with Business Durham, Bill Harvey, relationship manager with Lloyds Bank, Durham and Wearside and Karen Smith, Europe Direct North East.