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Business Durham – their business is your business

Sarah Slaven, Business Durha,

Durham County Council’s business support service wants to help your business flourish. And leading from the front is Managing Director of Business Durham, Sarah Slaven.

“We’re here to make sure that County Durham is a great place in which to do business, to build a strong local economy and provide jobs for local residents,” said Sarah. “We provide support for businesses at all stages from helping start-ups, supporting current businesses to grow, attracting inward investment, to help create jobs and nourish a vibrant economy.”

Looking forward Business Durham manages a portfolio of commercial and industrial property on behalf of Durham County Council. One particularly successful project is the North East Technology Park (NETPark) on the outskirts of Sedgefield.

NETPark is a classic example of what Business Durham is all about. Durham County Council had a bold vision how to create higher value jobs long term. The region had previously relied on traditional industries, so something had to change. NETPark has done so well that we are now embarking on a £62m further phase of development which will see it double in size. Bigger units are being built for firms that are expanding and this will then release space in the smaller units for new businesses to move into. We are attracting a lot of interest from firms outside the region who can create some exciting opportunities in new industries such as space and satellite technology”.

As well as funding and cash flow challenges, attracting skilled staff is another obstacle many businesses are facing currently, so one of Business Durham’s roles is to help promote County Durham and the North East is.

“We have a good standard of living, it’s cheaper than other regions and we have a lot of quality jobs. Throw in our stunning countryside and beaches, great communication links, sensible housing prices and a really good work ethic, and you’d wonder why a firm wouldn’t want to come here.

“To help businesses to grow and improve productivity we’ve set up the Durham Business Growth programme. With a total budget of £8.16 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the programme combines the expertise of Business Durham, RTC North and UMi to provide a simplified and accessible platform for businesses seeking tailored support.

“Instead of having a multitude of small support packages, Durham Business Growth provides firms and individuals with everything they need to access support. It’s a bit like a menu whereby businesses can select their preferences.

“Whether they require assistance for growing their business, support to enter new markets, develop innovative products, secure funding, or invest in buildings and equipment, the options are adaptable.

“The first step is that one of our Business Engagement Officers will look at the company to ascertain what they need and what is available. We want to make it as simple as possible.

“With this new funding we can now help businesses of all sizes and all sectors so, for example, we can now help the tourism and hospitality sector.”


Funding is available until March 2025 so the best idea is to have a conversation with the Durham Business Growth engagement officers. Email enquiries@ or call 0191 7161006.


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