There’s a host of opportunities for companies to grow and thrive in Newton Aycliffe through a tailored package of support from Business Durham…
Newton Aycliffe is a fast-growing business success story underpinned by a diverse mix of companies – from manufacturing and engineering, to creative industries and logistics.
Confirmation of the sheer depth and breadth of business excellence in the area can easily be found, for example, in the 65 nominations from 37 different companies on Aycliffe Business Park battling it out for accolades at this month’s (March) Make Your Mark awards.
Add to this potent mix of the momentous decision by Hitachi Rail Europe to locate its £82m rail vehicle manufacturing plant in the town and it’s easy to see why the area is generating such positive news headlines.
Business Durham – the economic development company working on behalf of Durham County Council – is spearheading a bold package of business support to exploit the opportunities Hitachi Rail Europe’s huge investment presents, as well as providing expert help for firms across a wide range of other sectors.
Get into Rail Regional Workshop
A prime example is Business Durham joining forces with the Rail Alliance to host a “Get Into Rail” regional workshop in the last week of June – provisionally planned for June – at Durham County Cricket Club.
The Rail Alliance is the sector’s largest dedicated B2B networking organisation, bringing together customers, suppliers and supply chain opportunities.
Lucy Prior, the Rail Alliance’s membership development and international trade director, said: “There is a strong manufacturing base in the North East and we want to grow the rail sector both through UK and export opportunities.
“To do that, businesses need to fully understand the necessary accreditations and requirements of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), but also to be aware that there is support to help them on this journey.”
Caroline Taukulis, Business Durham strategic account manager, said: “The rail sector provides new opportunities for northern companies and we will have experts from the Rail Supply Group at the event, outlining new contract awards including tips on how to write good rail tenders.
“There will also be support on hand to help raise finance for rail projects as well as local case studies.”
Durham Business Opportunities Programme
A key focus for Business Durham this year is the launch of the Durham Business Opportunities Programme – known as DBOP – which will deliver a bright new take on business support.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project will provide real impetus to company expansion and wider economic growth in County Durham.
Simon Goon, Business Durham managing director, said: “Over the next three years, the dedicated DBOP team will go out and establish relationships with firms – many who don’t normally engage business support services and who may not be very well networked – to help ignite their growth.
“We aim to identify new business opportunities and help businesses pursue them, in the process growing and developing their operations.
“This could be by helping firms access new markets, new developments, new sales or new technology.”
Durham Smart County
Innovative businesses are being urged to take part in a pioneering initiative to tackle the major health issues associated with social isolation in the North East.
Companies are being invited to apply for funding as part of Durham Smart County, the open innovation programme which has seen Durham County Council join forces with health organisations, universities, community groups and private companies.
Business Durham is leading the project on behalf of the local authority.
Initially £100,000 is being made available to companies to develop and scale up concepts with a deadline of March 31st.
For more information, visit www.businessdurham.co.uk/smartcounty
Catherine Johns Innovation and Business Growth Director at Business Durham, said: “Many of the world’s most famous companies started on the back of early stage contracts from governments: Vodafone spun out of Racal, a company built on contracts from the MoD to develop wireless technology.
“Durham Smart County is bringing together people who would never normally interact and sharing knowledge across disciplines and sectors. It’s about using local capabilities to tackle local health issues but then having the right support to scale up those products and services globally.”
NEAA £1.4m SME Programme
Business support will be taken out on the road in March with a County Durham SME Roadshow at the NETPark Incubator in Sedgefield.
Firms were also invited to join the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) and Business Durham at the roadshow on Thursday March 16.
The event was pitched at small and medium-sized (SMEs) companies looking to supply into the automotive sector or those firms already doing so but looking to improve their capability.
The NEAA will outline information on the £1.4m ERDF funded SME Programme, advancing the competitiveness of North East automotive SMEs, along with the £6bn tier 1 and tier 2 UK supply chain opportunities in the sector.
The roadshow focuses on improving the competitiveness of SMEs, expanding business capability through business excellence, increased trade and innovation, attracting new SMEs into the sector and supporting entrepreneurship.
Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP)
Local firms are also receiving expert support from the thriving Aycliffe Business Park Group which held the first of a planned series of seminars.
Staged at the premises of ROF59 in Newton Aycliffe, Malcolm Potter, energy officer in Durham County Council’s Low Carbon Energy Team, led a presentation and discussion on energy efficiency.
The seminar covered how the management of energy should be a key driver for business improvement and how the council’s new European-funded Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) can offer assistance to local companies in the form of free energy advice and auditing – and even some grant funding.
“The majority of companies, to a greater or lesser degree, make savings by managing and controlling their energy consumption, sometimes at little or no up front cost,” said Malcolm.
The “Get Into Rail” regional workshop takes place 30th June at Durham County Cricket Club.
“But only a minority consider how improvement in energy usage can positively influence operational and financial performance and, therefore, competitiveness.
“The BEEP project offers constructive assistance to companies through free energy auditing services and its ability to contribute to the cost of measures undertaken as a result of these audits.”