Rural businesses set for boost

Rural businesses set for boost

The Durham Creatives programme, which has supported more than 90 creative start-ups in County Durham, is launching a series of workshops for rural business owners.

The free programme, set up four years ago, helps entrepreneurs by delivering practical workshops on how to run a business, covering subjects such as finance, marketing, patent protection and selling online, as well as personal mentoring.

Commissioned by Business Durham, the workshops will take place at the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope, Weardale.

In the past, Durham Creatives has supported successful entrepreneurs including Ross McPhie who set up the online men’s fashion brand I Sunk Your Battleship in Durham after a fashion career designing for the likes of Rip Curl and Nike and jewellery designer Hannah Wood, of Frosterley, who creates her own designs under the brand Hannah Peters Jewellery for customers worldwide.

Sarah Slaven, business development director with Business Durham, said: “The Durham Creatives programme has proved phenomenally successful at helping creative people take their hobbies and ideas and turn them into flourishing businesses.

“We’re keen to make the Durham Dales Centre a place for enterprise, rather than simply a venue, which is why it’s a great place for people to be inspired by the Durham Creatives workshops.”

Meryl Levington, a partner with Blue Sky Think, which delivers the programme said: “The businesses we’ve supported range from animators and ceramicists to cushion makers and a luxury dog accessories company.

“The Dales Centre is Stanhope’s hidden gem and the rural setting lends itself to many creative people. Rural business owners can sometimes feel quite isolated but here they will find a friendly, supportive, enterprising environment which will help them on their entrepreneurial path.”

The workshops run until October at the Dales Centre and include Business Planning; Health Wellbeing and Enterprise; The Art of Selling; Protecting Your Business Ideas; Finance – Understanding the Essentials; Food, Drink and Enterprise; Selling Overseas Online.