A BUSINESS support organisation is plotting further growth after reaching an operational milestone.

County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) now has 200 members.

Bosses at the body, launched two years ago, say they are delighted with its progress, revealing they intend to ramp up support for companies’ domestic and international ambitions.

They added such a focus has helped it reach its landmark member mark, with Sunderland-based telecoms and IT operator CCS Mobile and Lloyds Banking Group both signing up.

They have joined the likes of Newcastle law firm Muckle and Durham City-based accountant Tait Walker, which all work with CDEMN to offer support for network members.

Ben Gilhespy, CDEMN operations director, said: “County Durham’s engineering and manufacturing sectors are thriving.

"It’s our job to ensure this continues, but also that we’re doing everything possible to engage with smaller companies who perhaps have ambitions to grow but need a push.

“There is so much support out there to help businesses, but we appreciate many firms think tapping into it is too time consuming.

“We’re here to help them realise their full potential.”

However, Mr Gilhespy added that while CDEMN, which oversees the annual Durham Oktoberfest business expo, is keen to see firms flourish abroad, it is also focused on strengthening domestic relationships.

He said: “The feedback we’re getting is that members are not working with companies closer to home.

"There’s a massive opportunity to secure new work in the county.”