Durham City Incubator (DCI) is a joint venture between Business Durham, Durham University and New College Durham.

We’re here to support ambitious businesses based in County Durham less than a year old achieve their goals and local entrepreneurs launch start-ups with high growth potential.

We work with students and alumni of Durham University and New College Durham with innovative businesses ideas or concepts, as well as entrepreneurs and Durham-based business owners with a vision to grow and scale up.

How do we help?

We provide all the support you need to boost your business or launch an ambitious start-up in Durham, including:

• A start-up grant of up to £2,500 to invest in your business.
• A mentor to share your ideas, thoughts and ambitions with.
• The chance to connect, learn and collaborate with the like-minded entrepreneurs going through the programme alongside you.
• Unique opportunities to connect with investors and funders that can finance your business growth plans.
• Access to the shared workspace in Salvus House in Durham at a reduced rate (just £50 per month).
• An opportunity to test a business model in the real world with a safety net there to support you.
• The chance to gain hands-on experience through workshops by some of the North East’s leading experts in marketing, finance, legal and business growth.
• Access to networks, events and meet-ups across the North East.
• Free public relations and marketing opportunities that will help raise your profile and get your business on the map.
• One-to-one support from DCI staff to help you plan and achieve your targets.
• Up to two days of specialist consultancy support.
• An option to access an innovation loan up to £7,500 financed by NorthStar Ventures.

How does it work?

DCI is a six-month accelerator programme that you and your co-founders can go through alongside the day-to-day running of your business.

The programme is delivered through boot camps, one-to-one support, mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars, and networking events.

It’s designed as a crash course in starting and running a business, equipping you with the skills you need to make sure your new venture thrives.

Over the course of six months, you’ll learn new skills through workshops that will help you understand finance, develop market strategies, and map out your future growth.

You’ll be assigned a dedicated mentor and work with DCI staff who will help guide you through the early stages of starting and running your business and help you turn your vision and ambitions into reality.

You’ll also get the chance to share your ideas and ambitions with like-minded entrepreneurs, pitch your business to investors and funders, learn from some of the North East’s brightest business minds, and much more.

DCI has been designed for busy business owners to attend around running their business, which means it’s incredibly flexible. In total, you’ll need to attend at least 64 hours of workshops and support sessions during the six-month programme to get access to DCI’s many benefits.

Whatever you want to achieve, we’ll help you get there.

Am I eligible for DCI?

DCI is open to anyone with a business based in County Durham that’s been trading less than a year or an ambitious idea for a high-growth start-up.

We encourage students and alumni of Durham University and New College Durham to apply.

DCI will ideally suit entrepreneurs and business owners that have innovative concepts, products, services or business models that have high growth potential.

Not 100% sure whether your business qualifies for the programme? Just give us a call.

How do I apply?

DCI runs in cohorts that each last six months – January to June and July to December.

To get on to the next cohort, simply fill out this short form introducing yourself, your business and why you want to be part of Durham City Incubator.

If you’re successful, you’ll be invited to a pitch event, where you’ll get the chance to explain your business or idea and how you’d benefit from DCI to a panel in a two-minute pitch.

If you make a big impression, you’ll be invited to join the six-month accelerator programme.

Interested? Apply today.

Apply to be part of the next DCI cohort today

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