A SCHEME which supports businesses across the Tees Valley has helped more than 1,000 firms over the last 12 months, giving away thousands of pounds of funding.

Tees Valley Business Compass is celebrating its second year after supporting 774 businesses and 335 start ups across the region in 2018.

The growth hub has completed over 600 diagnostics on Tees Valley-based companies and had 664 appointments with business owners since January 2018, supporting and advising them on funding opportunities, as well as securing grants to supplement growth.

The largest project it has supported was on behalf of Wynyard-based water supplier Everflow Limited, worth almost £350,000, with Tees Valley Business Compass awarding a £115,000 business growth grant to facilitate IT system development which will support the company’s future plans.

James Cleave, finance director at Everflow, said: “Applying for and obtaining the grant was made far more straightforward than it could have been with the assistance of the team at Tees Valley Business Compass, particularly Dave Jones who was and continues to be a great help.

“The grant has been fundamental in supporting new jobs as well as capital investment in the business, and will be vital in enabling Everflow to achieve its growth aspirations.”

In addition, Tees Valley Business Compass has also seen a busy year for events, headlining the Tees Valley Business Summit and launching its own alternative networking event, Networking & NERF Wars in partnership with Advantex and Harvey & Hugo.

The support available for companies comes from an investment of more than £9.5m from the European Regional Development Fund, secured by Tees Valley Combined Authority. Support is available for growth projects, research and development, consultancy and innovation.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:“Tees Valley Business Compass has been instrumental in backing the region’s job-creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and risk-takers.

"The assistance that it provides goes far beyond just financial support.

"This has been seen in the number of companies that have come to Business Compass for help."