A VIRTUAL business week is getting underway tomorrow with specialist help for those most affected by the pandemic.

Darlington's first ever virtual business week, which will include a job fair, runs from Monday until Friday, October 9.

More than fifteen online workshops seminars and events are available during the week.

The week will be launched with an overview of the local and regional economy and features a keynote speech by Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen.

In addition, the first ever virtual jobs and information fair will be hosted on the invest in Darlington Facebook page on Thursday, October 8 from 11am-3pm.

Online visitors to the event can browse vacancies, training and volunteering oppotrtunities.

The timetable of events are aimed at helping enterprises build resilience, help recovery, learn how to diversify and grasp new opportunities, including exporting, and engage with new and existing customers.

To address current trading issues, there will be specialist support workshops from Save the High Street and Business Doctors to help those sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – retail, leisure and hospitality.

Businesses taking part can learn more about working digitally, building a brand and customer loyalty, and how to access financial support.

Darlington Borough Council’s environmental health team will deliver advice on Covid-safe trading and there will be a workshop on business with the public sector, and developments in human resources and health and safety.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “There is still time to book on one or more sessions although I would advise people to act quickly.

“The week provides a unique opportunity to take part in free online workshops with industry experts from wherever you choose, making it even easier to get involved.

“The Covid pandemic has presented extreme challenges to many businesses and these sessions will help them to find a way through these difficult times, look at different ways of working and to thrive and survive into the future.

“There is a lot of help and support out there and Business Week will be a fantastic opportunity to find out where to find it.

“I urge all local businesses of any size to look at what’s on offer. The events are free, online and very relevant to many business areas.”

Visit www.investindarlington.co.uk/events

The council’s business investment team is available throughout the year and offers support and advice for local business or those who are considering investing in the borough. They can be contacted by phone on 01325 406305 or email at: investindarlington@darlington.gov.uk