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Business Durham Managing Director Sarah Slaven tell us why it’s so important to support the
regions Engineeri
ng and Manufacturing sectors and EMCON.

1. Tell us about Business Durham?

Business Durham is the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more
and better jobs and a strong competitive economy. We are a knowledgeable and trusted guide, which connects businesses with the right funding,
advice, and networks they need to grow and thrive. We work closely with partners to encourage an enterprise culture, helping entrepreneurs to turn
bright ideas into successful reality and students to develop enterprise skills to become our future
business leaders. We also manage a portfolio of business property and pride ourselves on finding the right space for
businesses to grow – commercial office space, modern laboratories and industrial property units.
We work towards attracting capital and inward investment to the county and developing an innovative economy that enables companies to grow and flourish.

2. You have always supported EMCON can you tell us more about that?

The Engineering and Manufacturing sector is a vital part of the County Durham economy
contributing millions of pounds and employing thousands of people. It is the largest source of full
time, well paid jobs and the workforce productivity exceeds the national average. The sector has
major world leading companies established in the County as well as diverse range of sub-sectors,
where there is both a strong presence and growth potential.
Given the role that the sector plays in driving economic prosperity in the County, it is really
important to Business Durham to be able to support the sector through the work of the Engineering
and Manufacturing Network, and key events like EMCON are at the heart of this.
The challenges businesses have faced during the coronavirus pandemic have been far reaching. For
some it has posed new opportunities with many businesses pivoting to help with the challenges
brough on by the pandemic. We have observed many new small and micro businesses starting up
during the pandemic. Business Durham have supported businesses prior to, during and will continue
to support business following COVID-19 to help companies in one of our most valuable sectors
overcome challenges, face new ones, grasp opportunities to grow and thrive.
For small businesses in the sector, our Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) has an
Engineering and Manufacturing Strand to help County Durham companies working in this sector or
its supply chain overcome barriers to sales and win new contracts, and some of these will be
exhibiting in the EMCON Incubator Zone. It has been great to work in partnership with EMCON in
previous years to support the growth of several businesses and we are looking forward to being able
to provide further joint support now and for many years to come.
EMN is a delivery partner in the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) helping to
engage with SMEs in the engineering and manufacturing sector and identify potential market
opportunities in that sector. The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is part-funded by the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

3. What are you hoping to achieve from this year’s show?

This year’s show will provide a perfect opportunity to catch up and reconnect with businesses in the
sector. We have all missed meeting businesses face to face so it will be great to be able to get back
out there and network again. Our team has worked hard to support businesses throughout the
pandemic, many of whom were not aware of the full range of support that is there to help them.
Being able to extend that hand to other businesses who may not have engaged with us before is one
of our aims for this year’s show as well as being able to update our existing network on our support
programmes which are ever growing and developing.

4. Can you share with us your plans for the engineering and manufacturing sector with us? 

We will continue to support the Engineering and Manufacturing sector with an array of programmes
to help businesses in the sector continue to develop, grow and make the most of opportunities.
Programmes such as:
Digital Drive County Durham
The Durham Business Opportunities Programme
County Durham Growth Fund
Finance Durham
Durham City Incubator
Durham Future Innovations Building Project
Durham Ambitious Start-Ups

Our continued funding and support of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network will further the
progress that has already been made helping businesses in the sector work with and benefit from
one and other to ensure this sector continues its long history of contributing more than any other to
the GVA, employment and future prosperity of County Durham.