Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Future Growth Is at the Heart of Business Durham

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Future Growth Is at the Heart of Business Durham

Article excerpt

BUSINESS Durham passed a series of milestones in 2017 - at the same time as setting the North East's space and satellite industry on course for growth.

A wide range of initiatives during the year reinforced the county's position as one of the best places in the UK to do business and invest, increasing prosperity by creating and safeguarding jobs.

As the economic development organisation for Durham County Council, Business Durham's role includes helping businesses find the right property and funding, creating networks for sharing knowledge and nurturing an enterprise culture.

A major development in 2017 was the launch of the PS20m Finance Durham fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners, to make investments of PS200,000 to PS2m, including 10% of the total for start-up funding of PS10,000 to PS40,000.

The first investment of PS250,000 was in craft distillery Durham Gin to help it relocate to new premises in central Durham to expand production, showcase its products in a visitor centre and launch Durham Whisky.

Its first incubator investment was PS40,000 in Moralbox, a technology start-up in Seaham that helps employers and staff manage training records.

Since opening in 2004, Business Durham's NETPARK in Sedgefield has become one of the UK's leading science and technology parks and a magnet for some of the country's sharpest minds and most innovative companies. During 2017 major projects got underway to lay the foundations for future growth.

A one-kilomentre road is nearing completion giving access to 26 acres of development land, potentially creating 1,400 jobs, and work began on two new Explorer buildings - which are due to open in early 2018 at a cost of PS7.4m - with The North East LEP providing PS3.2m from the Local Growth Fund towards the total cost . One of the first Explorer tenants will be fast-growing IBEX Innovations, an X-ray imaging technology company, which started in a virtual office NETPARK and will be able to house its offices and laboratory under the same roof for the first time. …

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