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Business & Economy

Financial boost for talent recruitment in County Durham

A Teesside University service for County Durham SMEs is increasing the financial support available for graduate recruitment.

For a limited time, the “cap” on Innovate Durham’s maximum subsidy is being lifted, so that eligible businesses receive  50% of the cost of taking on a graduate for the first 6 months, regardless of salary level.

This means, for example, that for a 6-month salary cost of £12,000 (equivalent of £24,000 annual salary), a company will receive £6,000 subsidy, instead of the usual maximum of £4,500.

Innovate Durham offers advice, mentoring and practical support to SMEs who want to develop new products or services or introduce new processes into the business.

The service, which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, offers SMEs the help of a dedicated business innovation manager, who works with them to understand their growth ambitions, identify potential projects, and develop a practical action plan.

One of the services provided by Innovate Durham is financial and practical help to take on a graduate to develop or introduce a new product or process. The graduate can also be supported by University academics to work on an agreed innovation project.

Suhail Aslam, Innovate Durham project manager, said: “Bringing graduate talent into an SME can have a real impact on its performance and allow it to meet new challenges and improve systems and processes.

“We are delighted to be able to expand our support for graduate recruitment and encourage businesses in the county to take full advantage of this offer.”

Innovate Durham is a service available to growth-oriented businesses in County Durham employing fewer than 250 staff and with an annual turnover that does not exceed €50m per annum.

The project has received up to £693,654 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

For more information on services offered by Innovate Durham visit