Durham, a county with a rich heritage in industry and innovation, is somewhere that is fast becoming today’s beacon for business in the North thanks to a number of leading lights of the business world.
Several multi-nationals are located here including GSK, Caterpillar, NSK and Hitachi, which located its £82m European HQ for high speed rail at Newton Aycliffe.
The county also nurtures several home grown success stories such as Seaward Electronics, Kromek, Gestamp Tallent, Thomas Swan and Thorn Lighting, amongst others. These companies employ significant numbers and have invested and reinvested in the county.
Durham City is a key location for business services and has potential to grow. Since its purchase of Salvus House in 2016, Durham County Council has invested further in redeveloping the building to provide office and incubator space.
The most important business sectors are automotive, precision engineering, electronics, health, and financial, professional and business services. But this list is not exhaustive and the county boasts a broad business base, with significant strengths in technology, engineering and manufacturing, which makes up 20% of the county’s economy (compared with 16% across the UK as a whole).
Business Durham - the county’s economic development organisation working on behalf of Durham County Council - supports over 1,000 companies each year, providing advice, signposting companies to the support available and assisting with growth projects. In the last three years the organisation has helped create or safeguard over 5,000 jobs in the County. And 32 new companies have been helped to locate in County Durham.
Support available includes the £20m Finance Durham venture capital fund, Durham Business Opportunities Programme
and Digital Drive County Durham.
The A1(M) corridor provides a focus for a wide range of businesses. NETPark, near Sedgefield, is a science park for businesses involved in high value science, engineering and technology sectors, including incubation space and the two new explorer buildings providing additional space for research and development companies who need room to prototype and scale up to manufacture on site .
Aycliffe Business Park is one of the largest business parks in North East England and is the base for a range of industrial and logistics firms. Work has now started on the 52 acre Forrest Park site, expanding on the Aycliffe Business Park development, with a further 3,200 jobs expected. There are also a number of opportunities on key sites along this corridor including the new mixed use DurhamGate development near Spennymoor as well as other key sites adjacent to Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett and Stanley.
The capacity of the A19 corridor is being developed. Seaham, Murton and Peterlee are key locations for new housing, retail and employment developments, which will build on existing strengths in manufacturing, engineering, business services sectors as well as opportunities for enterprises and tourism.
The county is a great place to live and work and has a proven track record in hosting world class cultural programmes, such as the UK’s largest light festival, Lumiere, which attracted record numbers when it returned for its fifth edition in 2017 and the amazing Kynren; An Epic Tale of England, in Bishop Auckland - Durham is a thriving place to live and visit.
The ‘This is Durham, Place of Light,’ brand, developed by Visit County Durham, will help promote the county nationally and internationally as a place to invest, live, work and meet; shining the spotlight on the county as a place to be proud of; a beacon guiding businesses, residents and visitors alike to this vibrant place.
For more information visit www.businessdurham.co.uk