A START-UP company which helps SMEs avoid the dangers and hidden costs of driving during the working day has increased its customer reach with support from Innovate Tees Valley.

Software platform Driver.Online, based in Stockton’s Fusion Hive, is benefitting from the services of a graduate for six months to create and execute an effective marketing campaign.

Safety industry entrepreneur Marc Atkinson recently launched Driver, a cloud-based risk assessment and training tool that analyses the driving requirements of a business and the vehicle use of staff to help employers manage their Health and Safety obligations.

However, he quickly realised the company needed extra support to promote its product and approached the Teesside University-led project, which is financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and helps SMEs develop unique products and improve services and processes.

Through Knowledge Exchange Internships the cost of employing a graduate– in Driver.Online's case Camille Hilditch from Newton Aycliffe– for six months is split between company and University, allowing SMEs to recruit to normally unaffordable key positions.

Miss Hilditch, joined the company on a KEI having graduated with a BSc in marketing from Lancaster University.

Mr Atkinson said: “We were keen to develop a new approach to marketing to reflect what is a unique product and Camille is helping us achieve just that.

“Potential customers are quick to realise the benefits of Driver, but we believe that emphasising the positive effects is more effective than highlighting the negatives, in terms of increased costs, serious injury or even fatalities.

“We have been pleased to welcome Camille to the team and she is already making a difference and is motivated to create an imaginative and effective marketing campaign highlighting Driver’s capabilities.

“Innovate Tees Valley has helped Driver.Online find the correct approach to market this product and develop the right language which appeals to as many potential customers as possible.”

Sue Gilbert, Innovation Exchange Project Manager, said: “This project benefits not only the company but the graduate and the University through the exchange of expertise and experience at all levels.

“We are delighted to assist Driver.Online grow its business by promoting this exciting and innovative product to create another Teesside success story.”