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Business Durham

With over 13 years of expertise in business support, Michelle Mann is an invaluable asset as a Business Engagement Officer at Durham Business Growth. Her passion for working with people and hearing their stories shines through in her current role, where she is dedicated to helping companies of all sizes in East Durham and Durham City thrive and grow with the assistance of Durham Business Growth.

Michelle's true passion lies in working closely with individuals and gaining a first-hand understanding of their businesses. She finds inspiration in the dedication and drive of business owners, which is why she thrives on meeting them face to face. By sharing their experiences and aligning their ambitions with practical strategies, Michelle aims to provide an exceptional level of customer service for all business contacts. 

Prior to joining Durham Business Growth, Michelle served as a Business Support Advisor for the National Business Support Helpline.  In this role, she conducted business diagnostic meetings, carefully identifying the unique support needed by each business and connecting them with the available resources. Michelle had the opportunity to work with SMEs across various industries nationwide, gaining valuable insights into business operations at a national level.

With her extensive experience, genuine desire to assist businesses, and exceptional skills, Michelle is a valuable resource for any business seeking guidance and support.

Michelle Mann

Business Engagement Officer

Stuart Armstrong brings over 4 years of valuable experience working for Business Durham, Durham County Council's business support service. He started his career at Durham County Council in the housing team where he took on project-based policy work before moving into an Innovation and Research Executive role at Business Durham.

As Innovation and Research Executive, Stuart was responsible for providing economic insights, analysing county-wide data, identifying performance gaps, and working with partners to improve business productivity. He also played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing applications and allocating recovery grants to help local businesses adapt and take advantage of new opportunities.

Stuart then joined the Durham Business Opportunities Programme team as a Business Engagement Officer covering the north of County Durham. He has worked to establish the Northern Tenant Network as well as managing the established Drum Business Park Network to foster connections between businesses in the region. Stuart also led the micro COVID recovery strand, which assisted companies with marketing, websites, e-commerce and more.

In his current position as Business Engagement Officer for the Durham Business Growth Programme, Stuart serves as the first point of contact for enquiries and facilitates engagement through business networks. He works directly with companies to uncover their growth potential and create tailored action plans. Stuart connects businesses to appropriate support programmes and provides guidance as a trusted advisor throughout their engagement. His on-the-ground experience also enables him to give feedback to help adapt and enhance programme delivery.

With over 4 years dedicated to business support and engagement roles with Business Durham, Stuart brings a wealth of relevant experience and expertise to help drive business growth and success in the region.

Stuart Armstrong

Business Engagement Officer

Chris Perry is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience working within SMEs, focusing on business growth and development. 

Chris’s journey began as a Sales Manager for an SME where he cultivated connections with clients and provided guidance on software utilisation and strategic approaches to enhance their operational processes.  This hands-on experience not only honed his skills but also deepened his understanding of the intricate workings of SMEs.

In his current role at Business Durham, Chris is committed to supporting local businesses and fostering economic growth within the county, with a particular focus on businesses involved in the visitor economy. He is confident in his ability to help businesses reach their full potential and is excited to contribute to the success of the Durham Business Growth Programme.

Chris Perry

Business Engagement Officer

Guy Bashford, Business Durham’s business engagement and account manager, drives business growth in County Durham with a career spanning two decades. His wealth of experience assists businesses in navigating challenges and seizing opportunities.

Formerly in roles advising on resource efficiency and environmental compliance, Guy’s extensive background suits his present responsibilities. His guidance spans finance, strategy, market identification, and environmental improvement.

Joining Business Durham seven years ago as a business engagement officer, Guy connected SMEs through the Durham Business Opportunities Programme, fostering growth via procurement and support.
As the current business engagement and account manager for East Durham, Guy fosters enduring client relationships. Tailoring solutions for sustainable growth, he leverages Net Zero knowledge to reduce carbon footprints as well as being an active member of East Durham Business Network.

Guided by Guy, many East Durham businesses have been able to thrive. The region offers connectivity, a skilled workforce, and a thriving business community. Guy offers impartial support, propelling businesses to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities.

In a complex business world, Guy Bashford and Business Durham stand as partners, propelling County Durham businesses toward success. Their guidance enables companies to tackle obstacles, embrace innovation, and achieve sustainable growth, all while contributing to a vibrant local economy.

Guy Bashford

Business Engagement and Account Manager

Jo Martin is a dedicated and experienced business engagement officer who focuses on rural businesses. She has a deep understanding of rural and community development and brings a wealth of experience to Durham Business Growth.
 
Jo grew up on a farm in Cheshire and has a background in hotel and catering from college. In 1996, she moved to County Durham and became a partner in a mixed farming business, juggling various roles while raising a family.
 
Jo has held various roles in events, marketing, business development, culture, tourism and education at organizations including North East Automotive Alliance and Visit County Durham.
 
She is passionate about supporting rural businesses and created the Rural Business Network, an innovative not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing vital support for rural businesses, while on Teesside University's Launchpad FUEL program.
 
Jo has first-hand experience of establishing a business and has set up a successful business crafting homemade cakes, supplying farmers' markets, cafes, and a farm shop. Her commitment to fostering youth development saw her take on roles for the Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs including as County Organizer for the County Durham Federation.
 
Jo has a first-class degree in Marketing and a postgraduate diploma in Tourism & Events. Her strategic vision and diverse experiences make her an invaluable asset to Durham Business Growth, where she continues to dedicate herself to rural business growth.

Jo Martin

Business Engagement Officer

With over 30 years of experience, Andrea McGuigan is a dedicated chartered marketer and business development professional. A member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, she holds a masters level qualification in Leadership and Management Development. 

Throughout her career, Andrea has excelled in diverse areas such as marketing, team management, project management, exporting, property management, and business support and development. Her association with Business Durham dates back to its inception in 2012.

As a Business Engagement and Account Manager, Andrea's responsibilities encompass facilitating access to appropriate support for businesses in the northern part of the county. She also serves as the Export Lead, aiding companies in trading goods and services internationally. This involves nurturing enduring relationships with businesses and providing insights into potential export developments. In addition, Andrea offers broader business support, assisting firms in acquiring grant funding, skills enhancement, and council services. 

Further showcasing her commitment, Andrea drives the County Durham Pound campaign, collaborating with key organisations to maximise social, economic, and environmental value. Business Durham's role involves connecting supply chain companies with tender opportunities, fostering partnerships, and highlighting successes. Andrea's multifaceted experience and dedication have positioned her as a driving force behind business growth, fostering international trade, promoting social value, and securing funding avenues for thriving businesses in County Durham.

Andrea McGuigan

Team Manager, Business Engagement and Account Management

Lisa Wall, a seasoned Business Engagement Officer with 18+ years of experience in County Durham, has a rich history of championing local businesses. She began as a Records Management Assistant before transitioning to Property Support, where she became the primary contact for businesses in the north of the county.

Lisa's journey led her to the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), under Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council.  Here, she had a focus on developing bespoke support for Creative Industries, as well as working with businesses within the Engineering and Manufacturing sector developing Sales and Marketing support which focussed on the EMCON Event.. As a Business Engagement Officer for the South West of the county, she empowered local businesses to seize emerging prospects, access tailored support, and played a pivotal role in establishing the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Business Network.

In her most recent role as Inward Investment Officer at Business Durham, Lisa covered the entire county, facilitating opportunities for businesses to establish themselves within County Durham. She also represented the county at major industry exhibitions.

Now, as a Business Engagement Officer for the Durham Business Growth Programme, Lisa is the go-to contact for inquiries and actively engages with businesses. She leverages her extensive network connections, such as the Bishop & Shildon and East Durham networks, to support businesses in uncovering their growth potential. Lisa serves as a trusted advisor throughout their engagement with the program, helping them access interventions aligned with their action plans and offering continuous support.

Lisa Wall is deeply committed to fostering business growth and success. With a proven track record, she brings invaluable expertise to the table.

Lisa Wall

Business Engagement Officer

Business Durham

For business owners, leaders, managers, and enterprising minds, we extend a warm welcome to Business Durham. As the business support service for Durham County Council, our role is integral to fostering a robust economy and generating quality employment opportunities.

Think of us as your essential guide, seeing you through the intricacies of business expansion, relocation, and establishment. Our goal is to offer practical, impartial assistance that facilitates growth and long-term success.

Business Durham acts as a knowledgeable partner, facilitating connections between businesses and the crucial resources they require for progress like funding, guidance, or valuable networks.

Through collaborations with partners, we cultivate an enterprising spirit that empowers entrepreneurs to transform innovative concepts into thriving ventures. Additionally, we equip students with the skills needed to become the future business leaders of our region.

Managing an array of business properties, we excel in matching enterprises with appropriate spaces for their growth journey. Whether it's modern laboratories, commercial offices, or industrial units, we can help find the right fit.

Our efforts extend to attracting capital and inward investment to the county, which in turn contributes to an innovative economic landscape where businesses can flourish.

The foundation of Business Durham is built upon nurturing enduring relationships that foster sustainable business growth. Our aspiration is to elevate economic prospects, ultimately establishing Durham as a hub for meaningful business interactions.

With a track record of success, our dedicated team of experienced professionals is committed to assisting businesses on their journey to prosperity.

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