County Durham businesses could benefit from a £1m cash injection, thanks to a new fund created specifically for small and medium enterprises.
Enterprise agency NBSL has launched a new North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) specifically for County Durham businesses. The programme, which is part financed by the England European Regional Development Fund, is forecast to help 620 businesses, creating around 230 jobs.
This new programme is open to all County Durham SMEs until 2020, even those which have already accessed NBSL support in previous funding rounds.
In recent years the North East Business Support Fund has supported over 800 Businesses in County Durham with £870,000 of Grants and 120 fully funded places on Business Development Masterclasses
John King, North East Business support manager at NBSL, said: “We’re really pleased to have secured this new funding that allows us to carry on the great work of the North East Business Support Fund in County Durham.
"It is great news for those businesses looking for that little bit of help that enables them to deliver on their growth plans. The programme has already helped hundreds of businesses in County Durham to tap into funding and expertise and we’re excited that we can now support hundreds more over the next three years.”
This version of NEBSF provides up to 40 per cent funding - up to £3,200 - towards a project worth between £2,500 and £8,000. Firms can use the funding for most types of business support that will encourage business growth.
Fully funded Masterclasses covering topics which will include sales strategy, bid writing and tendering, business growth planning and a range of digital marketing sessions are available, delivered by leading experts from across the region.
John added: “This may not be the end of the good news for the region. We are also aiming to secure additional funding to provide support to businesses based in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear and hope to be able to make an announcement in that in the coming months.
“County Durham has a wealth of innovative, exciting SMEs and we’re proud to be able to support them and hopefully help them take the next step in their development.”
Harland Accountants commercial director, Phil Murray, oversaw the firm’s successful foray to expand its digital profile and reach and also the re-branding process, following support from NBSL.
He said: “The North East Business Support Fund helped Harlands’ online focus and really concentrate on the areas that would have the most impact for us as a company. The application process was straightforward, the support from the NBSL team was fantastic and delivery was incredibly fast.
“The support enabled us to work with digital marketing specialists to create a digital marketing plan, content for social media, copy and ideas for blogs and how to be smart about targeting specific geographical areas, sectors – we even know what time is best to post or advertise to hit specific audiences.”