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Business & Economy

‘Darlington is open for business’ as £8.3 million Innovation Central launches for start-ups and SMEs

A local authority has officially opened an £8.3 million business hub it says will help the firms of tomorrow “flourish”.

Darlington Borough Council has cut the ribbon on Innovation Central.

The base, on the town’s Central Park site, includes 45 offices and five labs, which bosses say offer space for start-up companies and SMEs keen to join the town’s expanding life science cluster.

And they say it will further strengthen the town’s reputation as a hothouse for company growth by complementing the neighbouring Business Central commercial hub.

It also builds on Darlington’s increasing national stature as a business and financial hotspot, with Government departments, including the Treasury, continuing to bring high-level operations to the town.

Innovation Central was opened by Councillor Jonathan Dulston, leader of Darlington Borough Council [pictured, above, left, cutting the ribbon], alongside Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen [pictured, above, right], Darlington MP Peter Gibson and representatives from builder Wilmott Dixon and North East BIC, which will operate the building on the council’s behalf.

Councillor Dulston said: “Growing Darlington’s economy and providing the right conditions to help businesses start up and develop is one of our key priorities.

“Innovation Central provides a supportive environment for any small business – whether looking to take the first step in finding premises or perhaps looking to expand.



“Business Central has proved a tremendous success in terms of helping SMEs to grow and establish themselves, and with the same ethos behind Innovation Central we’re positive new tenants can flourish in the same way.

“These are exciting times for the town; Darlington is open for business.”

Paul McEldon, North East BIC chief executive, added: “Following the success of Business Central, we have first-hand experience of the incredible demand for quality space in Darlington for new and growing businesses.

“We are delighted to be operating Innovation Central, bringing two neighbouring facilities together to work as one creative and collaborative business community.”

The project was jointly funded by Darlington Borough Council, the European Regional Development Fund, £3.55million from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, and the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

Central Park’s life science cluster includes Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre and CPI.