Business Durham, the economic development organisation acting on behalf of Durham County Council, define their purpose as “delivering the environment for business and economic growth”, and according to recent reports they are certainly achieving some level of success in that regard.

The company aims to help members to not only get their business off the ground, but also connect with other like-minded professionals, find property in and around Durham, and foster a general air of innovation within their company. Notable initiatives undertaken by the company include the launch of the £20m Finance Durham Fund in 2017, put in place to facilitate investments of £200,000 to £2m in local enterprises, including 10% of the total for start-up funding of £10,000 to £40,000.

The first investment made by fund managers Maven Capital Partners was a £250,000 cash injection given to craft distillery Durham Gin, which was used to help the company relocate to new premises in central Durham. This in turn allowed them to expand production, showcase their products in a dedicated visitor centre, and launch a brand new product - Durham Whisky.

Next came the fund’s first incubator investment of £40,000 in MoralBox, a Seaham-based tech startup which develops software and technology designed to help employers and staff manage training records. The investment allowed the company to expand their operations and thus boost the business credentials of the area by adding another successful company to the list.

On top of their extensive portfolio of investments, Business Durham also opened NETPark back in 2004, which soon went on to secure a position as one of the UK’s leading science and technology parks, as well as helping to draw in some of the most innovative companies and highly skilled individuals. Further growth of the park is scheduled for the near future, with foundations being laid throughout 2017.

Business Durham have received widespread praise from locals and officials alike for their efforts and success in regards to reinforcing the county’s position as one of the best places in the UK to do business and invest, as well as setting the North East’s space and satellite industry on course for growth.

Catherine Johns, director of innovation and business growth at Business Durham, commented, “The progress made in 2017 highlights County Durham’s amazing capacity for problem solving.

“Our work in the county and beyond shows the ability of public sector organisations, private companies and universities in the region to work closely together and create a beacon for innovation and investment.”

All-in-all, the future’s looking pretty bright for Durham.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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