AN SME business hub which has supported the growth of hundreds of ventures across the North East has now established a base in the Tees Valley to provide dedicated support to the Tees business community.

The Tees Valley Business Hub, powered by the SME Centre of Excellence (SMECofE), has opened a base in Boho in Middlesbrough to offer a full range of support services to start-ups, scale ups and high-growth businesses throughout the area.

The team, backed by partners from across the Tees Valley, offer a holistic approach to entrepreneurs and innovators to help them start their business, survive and thrive. With a strong focus on digital, the Tees Valley Business Hub will also offer expert support in areas from new market entry and product development to core back office functions including HR, accountancy and marketing.

The Tees Valley Business Hub builds on the success of its first hub, based in Ponteland, Northum-berland, which has worked with hundreds of businesses from all sectors throughout the North East.

Having already supported around 200 Tees-based businesses during that time, and delivered Digital City Scale, Investor Readiness and Accelerator Programmes on behalf of Teesside University over the past three years, SMECofE is now in a position to extend that even further by having a dedicated Tees Valley centre.

Led by prominent Tees entrepreneurs Matt Atkinson and Jordan Dargue, they will work alongside the creator of SMECofE, Ammar Mirza - awarded a CBE for his efforts in promoting the North East business community - to deliver the tailored support Tees Valley businesses need to help get them to the next level, guiding them through the current Covid-19 crisis and map out a plan for their future.

Its opening has been welcomed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who said: “Supporting our fantastic local businesses is my absolute priority and is more important than ever as we continue our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and the new Tees Valley Business Hub will play a crucial part in that. My plan for the economic recovery of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is a plan for jobs which will see the creation of good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people, and this new centre will support hundreds of businesses in our region to help them invest, grow and create these jobs.”

The team already has strong relationships with many businesses and business support services - it has recently been appointed as a partner for Tees Valley Business Support funding - and is also looking to develop links with serviced office providers to offer additional tailored assistance to ten-ants.

Matt Atkinson, Chief Executive of the Tees Valley Business Hub, said: “The Tees Valley business community is unique and we have established this Hub in response to the specific challenges and needs that entrepreneurs here will face, both in the current climate and into the future. The SMECofE is a very well-established brand in the North East, and to have already supported so many Tees businesses is phenomenal, but to truly support our community, you have to be part of it."