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Business & Economy

Places limited as more companies book for Incubator Zone

County Durham SMEs are being encouraged to book their place at this year’s EMCON Incubator Zone as only a handful of stands remain.

Seventeen companies have already booked their place on the programme, the latest recruits being Consett-based Ashgarth Engineering and Durham Scenic Works, Beacon 365, Newton Aycliffe Workswear Suppler and Greystone Legal from Newton Aycliffe; Peterlee’s GEM Training and Millbank Solutions who are based in Belmont.

Other sign ups include IA Growth, One Unite Partnership, Johnson Procurement Services and Pixel Media.

The companies have all come on board after hearing about the success of the inaugural programme, held in 2017.
Niall Ash is from Ashgarth Engineering. He said: “The programme was recommended to me and I felt it really fit with our aims for growth. We want to show people who Ashgarth Engineering is and what we offer our clients, and see the EMCON event as the perfect way for us to achieve this.”

This is the second year that the Incubator Zone, which is delivered through Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) team in partnership with LEC Communications and Design and with European Regional Development Fund funding, has been held.

Last year 21 companies from the area (took part in the programme) and to date, contracts worth more than £200,000 have been won.

One of them is Shred Direct from Peterlee. Owner Graeme Carter said: “We made some excellent contacts and have already completed work with engineering company Hiatco to shred a lot of their confidential paperwork.”
The Incubator Zone programme enabled new and growing companies, or those who had little or no exhibition experience, to showcase themselves to an EMCON audience of over 1,000 people.
The criteria to exhibit within the Incubator Zone is that the companies must:
·       Be based in County Durham
·       Have proven links to the manufacturing and engineering sectors
·       Be actively looking to grow
·       Have never exhibited at EMCON before

Mike George is managing director of specialist security and risk management company Millbank Solutions.

He said: “We’ve signed up the Incubator Zone as we want to raise our profile within the engineering and manufacturing sectors, and put ourselves on the radars of some of companies who will be attending.”

Millbank Solutions is an affiliate member of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network, CDEMN, which organises EMCON.

Operations Director Ben Gilhespy said: “The Incubator Zone was a huge draw last year and already the level of interest we’ve seen is huge. Word has certainly spread among the engineering and manufacturing communities that this is the ideal opportunity for firms to meet potential new suppliers and ultimately, win work.”

Sarah Slaven, Business Development Director at Business Durham which manages the Durham Business Opportunities Programme said: “The Incubator Zone is a great opportunity for companies who haven’t previously gone to EMCON to get involved with this key event in the Engineering and Manufacturing calendar.  We’d urge any businesses that fit the criteria to get in touch now as there are already over 15 companies that have booked, which means places are quickly becoming limited.”