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A truly tailored approach to business support

In a world of commercial challenges and opportunities, Durham Business Growth is providing firms with tailored support that delivers not just stability but a platform to unlock potential and foster sustainable growth. Here, leading figures from delivery partners Business Durham, RTC North and UMi explain more about its aims and objectives.

Tailored support for County Durham businesses

In the dynamic landscape of County Durham’s commercial environment, businesses encounter a constantly shifting array of challenges and opportunities.

Recognising the need for comprehensive support, Durham Business Growth has emerged as a driving force, offering a transformative platform providing tailored support, unlocking potential and fostering sustainable growth.

The Durham Business Growth programme, funded by Durham County Council with a budget of £8.16 million, brings together the expertise of Business Durham, RTC North and UMi.

This collaborative effort provides a simplified and accessible platform for businesses.

Funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the programme’s primary objective is to strengthen the county’s economy.

It is open to businesses of all sizes and sectors, with a strategic emphasis on those operating in growing sectors including the green economy, decarbonisation, space and satellites, fintech and digital, advanced material electronics, life sciences and the creative and cultural sectors.


  • Pictured, from left to right, are business engagement officers Stuart Armstrong, Jo Martin, Michelle Mann and Chris Perry


Business Durham: A trusted guide for business success

As the lead partner in Durham Business Growth, Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council, is spearheading the initiative.

With a mission to deliver more and better jobs, while fostering a strong competitive economy, Business Durham is a knowledgeable and trusted guide for businesses seeking funding, advice and networks to thrive in the county.

The Business Durham team, including five dedicated business engagement officers, actively works with businesses, providing localised support and fostering connections vital for growth.

These officers are go-to contacts for businesses throughout their engagement with the Durham Business Growth programme.

Serving as trusted advisors, they support businesses in uncovering their growth potential, aligning interventions with action plans and offering continuous support.

Specialised productivity and growth support with RTC North

RTC North stands at the forefront of business support and innovation, bringing a wealth of expertise to the Durham Business Growth initiative.

Through its productivity and growth support, businesses can access a spectrum of services, ranging from one-on-one consultations to seminars and workshops.

The dedicated team of productivity and growth advisors works closely with Durham businesses, focusing on enhancing specific areas to boost productivity and increase the likelihood of achieving growth ambitions.

With a commitment to excellence, RTC North plays a pivotal role in connecting businesses with the right resources, ensuring they overcome challenges and seize opportunities in an ever-evolving marketplace.

UMi: Tailored grants and expert funding guidance

UMi brings a unique blend of rigour and creativity to the Durham Business Growth initiative.

With a history of collaboration alongside governments, charities, corporates, universities and more, UMi stands as a beacon of responsible business ethics and standards.

The Durham Business Growth comprehensive grants programme, managed by UMi, provides businesses with access to a capital fund of £3.3 million, offering grants from £10,000 to £200,000.

Additionally, a revenue fund of £700,000 supports grants ranging from £1000 to £10,000 for specialist consultancy.

UMi’s business funding adviser role ensures businesses receive the guidance needed to secure funding, polish project plans and make grant applications shine, drawing on UMi’s extensive knowledge of successful grant funding strategies.

Sarah Slaven, Business Durham managing director, says: “We understand that each business is unique, and Durham Business Growth is dedicated to building support around each company to ensure they receive the best possible tailored support for their individual needs.

“This is achieved through a fantastic mix of support from the programme, including capital grants, revenue grants, one-to-one support and one-to-many support, tailored to businesses irrespective of their sector.

“The strength of support from the three partners, Business Durham, RTC North and UMi, lies in our breadth and depth of knowledge and experience, providing a wealth of expertise to the initiative.”

Nicki Clark, UMi chief executive, says: “County Durham has incredible potential, which the Durham Business Growth programme is focused on maximising.

“At UMi, we have one purpose, which is to use the best information, expertise and finance to help businesses go further.

“We are really excited to continue our long-standing relationship with Business Durham and Durham County Council, and play an active role in helping businesses maximise their potential right across the county.”

John Heslop, of RTC North, adds: “RTC North is delighted and enthused to be a partner alongside UMi in supporting Business Durham with this exciting and innovative programme developed for businesses across County Durham.

“Collectively, we will bring a wealth of experience, guidance and know-how to help businesses with their own improvement and growth ambitions.”

Durham Business Growth is testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships.

Business Durham, RTC North and UMi have come together with a shared goal of driving economic prosperity in County Durham.

Through tailored support, grants and a commitment to excellence, these delivery partners are paving the way for businesses to thrive, grow and contribute to the region’s success.


March 6, 2024

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