L-R: Sarah Slaven, Business Durham’s interim managing director with Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic recovery.
Jane Imrie

County Durham SMEs set for innovation boost with new initiative

A new programme has been launched to drive innovation among a range of sectors across County Durham.

The Durham Future Innovation Building (DFIB) programme has launched in a bid to support SMEs across the county that are seeking research and development investment.

Set up by Business Durham - the economic development arm of Durham County Council - the programme is available for firms in the construction, health and ‘electech’ (electronics, electrical and embedded software) sectors.

It aims to create opportunities for companies to collaborate and learn from industry and subject matter specialists to accelerate research and development.

Sarah Slaven, Business Durham’s interim managing director, explained: “Business Durham has a proven track record of helping innovative companies grow and thrive, and bringing innovation to market.

“Innovators can sometimes have great ideas, but they are not always able to research and develop products for a variety of reasons. We recognise the importance in helping businesses overcome these challenges to develop their products, so we’re thrilled to be launching the Durham Future Innovation Building programme.

“We are looking forward to developing a ‘mini innovation ecosystem’ in County Durham for each of the three sectors, so we can not only inspire businesses about the potential for innovation in these areas, but also provide companies with easy access to the advice, contacts, and funding they need to bring forward new product ideas.”

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic recovery, added: “I am delighted we are launching the Durham Future Innovation Building programme at a time when business support is needed more than ever.

“The DFIB programme is just one of the ways we are supporting companies during this rapidly-changing time.

“By taking part businesses will be able to remain competitive, develop new products, grow supply chains, improve productivity, employment and wider economic prospects, which will enable them to thrive while creating and safeguarding more and better jobs.”

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