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23 resources every business in Durham should be taking advantage of

Whether you’re launching a start-up in Durham or you own an established business, there’s plenty of support you can tap into to that will help you take your business to the next level.

Here’s the full list of resources every Durham-based business owner needs to know about:


DCI is a business accelerator programme for Durham-based businesses less than a year old and entrepreneurs with an idea for a high-growth start-up.

It’s a six-month crash course in building a business that gives entrepreneurs based in County Durham the tools they need to take their business to the next level through workshops, expert mentorship, and access to a business grant of up to £2,500.

Apply to DCI here.

Business Durham

Business Durham connects local businesses with the funding, expert guidance, and networks they need to thrive.

The service can help Durham-based businesses of all sizes and in every stage of growth secure finance, upskill their staff, expand into new markets and much more, making it a must-use resource for any local entrepreneur.

Digital Drive County Durham

Digital Drive County Durham helps local business owners get the most from the digital tools at their disposal. Its team of expert advisors can run a digital health check on your business and then make personalised recommendations on the next steps for your business.

Digital Drive also offers free events that will help equip your team with digital skills and grants of up to 40% towards the cost of digital technology projects.

Finance Durham

Finance Durham is a £20m fund that was set up by Business Durham and is managed by Maven Capital Partners.

County Durham-based businesses of all sizes and at every stage of growth can get support from £200,000 up to £700,000 to help them develop new products, enter new markets or expand their current operations.

10% of the fund is also available for smaller investments to support innovation in County Durham.

NETPark North East Technology Park

The NETPark North East Technology Park provides state-of-the-art facilities for science, technology and engineering companies based in Durham.

Whether you’re an ambitious start-up looking to develop an innovative product or an established company that wants to develop a new product line or prototype, you’ll find world-class laboratory, clean room and office space at Durham’s NETPark.


DurhamWorks helps local businesses get access to the region’s top young talent. If you’re looking to grow your workforce with engaged and enthusiastic young adults, DurhamWorks can take the legwork out the process for you by matching you with the right candidates and pre-screening them before you invite them in for an interview.

You might also be able to access to funding and training support through DurhamWorks Learning Working Earning Grant.


NBSL provides funding and support for businesses of all sizes in County Durham.

This comes in the form of grants that cover up to 40% of the cost of business improvement projects that cost between £2,500 and £8,000.

So, if you’re planning on investing in a marketing strategy, a new website, or human resources planning, this funding could save you thousands.

NBSL also runs fully-funded masterclasses on topics like social media, marketing strategy, and business growth planning, so be sure to take advantage of these as well.


Over the last three years, TEDCO has helped launch more than 2,000 business in the North East through its Start & Grow programme.

TEDCO provides one-to-one business support and mentorship to fledging companies across the region and access to Virgin Start Up Loans.

Whether you want to start a new venture or grow your existing company, TEDCO specialises in helping entrepreneurs build the foundations of a sustainable business.

CDC Enterprise Agency

CDC offers ERDF-funded start-up and business growth support to company’s of all sizes across County Durham. They also provide office space and training rooms from MILE House in Chester-le-Street.

You can learn how to run a successful business through CDC’s programme of start-up workshops and one-on-one coaching, while you can also access start-up loans to help you get your idea off the ground.

Established businesses based in County Durham can benefit from the organisation’s Boost Your Business training weekends and personal coaching.

CDC also delivers start-up support for entreprenuers in Consett, Stanley and Lanchester through the Derwentside Enterprise Agency (DEA).

East Durham Business Service (EDBS)

If your business is based in Easington, Peterlee or Seaham, East Durham Business Service (EDBS) is your local business start-up provider.

EDBS provides business support for aspiring entrepreneurs and established business from the Novus Business Centre in Peterlee. Local businesses can access expert business advice, office space and meeting rooms, and youth employment support.

South Durham Enterprise Agency (SDEA)

South Durham Enterprise Agency (SDEA) provides business advice to start-ups and established companies based in Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Newton Aycliffe, Sedgefield, Weardale and Teesdale.

SDEA can help entrepreneurs plan, establish, and run their own start-up, as well offer expert advice to established businesses through its Boost Your Business weekend workshops.

Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)

Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) helps local companies developer, prove, prototype and commercialise the next generation of products.

CPI can help you with ambitious research and development programmes by supporting you with everything outside of the lab, from IP strategy and legal support through to supply chain management and marketing strategy.

CPI is a not-for-profit organisation that can support ambitious businesses looking to innovate in markets as varied as aerospace and food and drink.

North East Growth Hub

The North East Growth Hub gives local businesses access to finance, funding and business support to help them grow.

Whether you’re an SME looking for an innovative solution to your biggest problem, an entrepreneur looking to crowdfund an idea, or an established business that needs help preparing for Brexit, the North East Growth Hub can offer you the support you need.

The organisation can help you secure funding and point you in the direction of workshops and events that will give your team the skills and knowledge they need to take your business to the next level.

Innovation SuperNetwork

Innovation SuperNetwork is a “network of networks”. It brings together over 50 partners and 5,000 businesses from around the North East to help generate original ideas, new market opportunities, and fresh innovations.

Through VentureFest and FinanceCamp, Innovation SuperNetwork helps connect businesses across each of the region’s sectors to encourage new and innovative approaches to the hurdles your business faces.

North East Chamber of Commerce

The North East Chamber of Commerce is the region’s largest member organisation, representing over 3,000 local businesses – from start-ups to multinationals.

The organisation exists to support business success across the North East. It does this by promoting cross-sector conversations and helping businesses and individuals grow their network, knowledge, influence and reach.

Members of the Chamber can attend over 100 events each year, access its regular events and seminars, and grow your reach through the Chamber’s extensive network.

Durham University SME Internship Programme

The Durham University SME Internship programme is the perfect opportunity for any local business looking to research or develop new products or services.

The programme is open to any business that’s based in County Durham, within a sector that’s eligible for ERDF funding, and has less than 250 employees and an annual turnover less than €50m (approximately £45m).

If your business ticks all those boxes, you can benefit from the up-to-date knowledge and expertise of a Durham University student or graduate on an internship of up to 12 months. Eligible business can also get a 50/50 salary match for interns (based on a salary of £17,000).

Durham University Social Enterprise Live Project (SELP)

The Durham University Social Enterprise Live Project (SELP) gives local social enterprises access to the university’s top talent.

Working to an agreed set of objectives, a student will come on board through a work placement and use their expertise to help you develop your enterprise.

North East Automotive Alliance’s Advancing the Competitiveness of NE Automotive SMEs (ACE SME) Programme

County Durham-based SMEs in the automotive sector can take advantage of the North East Automotive Alliance’s ACE SME programme, which offers industry-tailored business support in the form of a company diagnostic and action plan, training and workshops that will upskill your team, networking events and masterclasses, and much more.

Newcastle University Arrow Programme

Newcastle University’s Arrow programme is a £3.4m ERDF-funded innovation programme that matches SMEs looking to innovate new products, processes and services with the university’s in-house capabilities and expertise.

The programme – which comes with a £20,000 innovation acceleration grant – is open to businesses based in the North East in the life sciences and healthcare, advanced manufacturing, creative and digital technologies, and offshore, subsea and energy technologies sectors.

Newcastle University Internship Programme

In partnership with the Santander Universities Internship programme, Newcastle University’s internship programme gives businesses across the North East the chance to get a talented and ambitious student on board for a project-based internship.

Durham-based SMEs can access up to £1,500 worth of funding to help cover the salary of a Newcastle University student or graduate through the scheme, which is the perfect way to inject fresh talent into your business.

Innovate Durham

Innovate Durham, which is managed by Teesside University, helps SMEs in County Durham develop new products or services and introduce new processes into their business.

Through the programme, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Business Innovation Manager who will work with you to identify potential innovation projects and develop a plan of action.

You’ll also have access to bid-writing support, graduate placements, and knowledge exchange internships with Teesside’s talented students and graduates.

Teeside University Apprenticeship Programme

If you’re looking to recruit an apprentice or upskill your existing workforce, Teesside University can help you through their apprenticeship programme. The university will support you in filling the role, securing funding to help cover the salary, and getting the apprentice up to speed with their role.

Northstar Ventures

Northstar Ventures is an early stage investor that provides advice, support and capital to scalable start-ups and businesses with high growth potential in the North East.

Through its Social Investment Fund, it is also investing £10.2m into local charities and social enterprises.

Around 60% of Northstar’s investments come off the back of direct enquiries, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you’re looking for funding.

The next application deadline is Friday 6th May 2022

apply now