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Business & Economy

Final EMCON incubator zone quickly filling up

Several companies have booked their place for the final Incubator Zone programme at this year’s EMCON event.

The programme, one of five strands of the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), is aimed at companies within County Durham that have never exhibited at the annual engineering and manufacturing expo.

The first two years of the Incubator Zone have seen 38 companies put through 12 hours of intensive support, which have resulted in contract wins worth over £300,000 and 20 new jobs created.

Ten businesses have booked their place for the 2019 programme, with several more considering signing up.

Confirmed are steel fabrication company Raisco and LED Supply and Fit, both from Newton Aycliffe, engineering firm Tritec based at Drum Industrial Estate and Bishop Auckland workwear manufacturer Team Contracts UK.

Also signed up is specialist concrete polishing business JLR Contracts and tooling and machinery re-manufacturing company Renovo Solutions.

Michael Harriott, business engagement officer at DBOP, which is managed by Business Durham said: “We’ve had a great response from businesses that want to be involved and already 10 have signed up. In addition, there are a further 10 who have enquired and we’re confident many of those will take part in the programme.

“We must stress this is the last year of the Incubator Zone so if you are thinking about exhibiting, don’t hang around as places are becoming limited.

“Previous exhibitors have done very well, winning hundreds of thousands of pounds of new business and between them creating 20 new jobs which is great. So, if you’re a County Durham business that wants to grow and tap into the thriving engineering and manufacturing sectors, the Incubator Zone is perfect for you.”

The programme, which is ERDF funded and delivered by Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) and LEC Communications and Design, was launched in 2017 to encourage those businesses who wouldn’t or couldn’t exhibit at EMCON, either because of lack of experience, resources or budget, to get involved.

The criteria to be involved in the Incubator Zone programme is:

  • Your business must be based within County Durham
  • It must have links to the engineering and manufacturing sectors
  • Ideally employ less than 15 people
  • Have never exhibited at EMCON

Ben Gilhespy, operations director at the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) which organises EMCON, said: “The Incubator Zone programme has helped dozens of businesses to win work and to put themselves on the radars of some of the biggest companies in the region and beyond with a view to winning contracts further down the line.

“Without doubt these are companies that wouldn’t have otherwise exhibited, either because of a lack of experience, budget constraints or an incorrect perception that the event is only for bigger companies.

“This year could be the final time the Incubator Zone programme is held, so don’t miss out as it really could make a difference to your future growth.”

This year’s event is being held slightly earlier than usual, on Thursday, October 10, at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe. Stadler Rail UK is once again the event’s headline sponsor while Jackson Hogg Recruitment is returning as delivery partner and Business Durham maintains its gold sponsorship status.

For more information on the 2019 event visit