A GROUP of eight entrepreneurs are set to invest their futures in County Durham after taking part in an incubator programme.

Durham City Incubator (DCI) was launched in 2018 as a joint programme between Durham University, New College Durham and Business Durham, as part of a wider drive to grow the Durham City economy.

It helps entrepreneurs in the county to launch start-ups with high growth potential and supports ambitious local businesses that have been trading for under 12 months to achieve their goals.

Read more: Elaine Stroud is new head of Entrepreneurs’ Forum

So far, the six-month programme has supported 39 entrepreneurs across five previous cohorts, many of whom have gone on to launch successful businesses, achieve national recognition and secure investment funding.

DCI is now working with eight more exciting new businesses on its sixth cohort, covering health and well-being, clothing, recruitment, digital marketing and the environment.

Each business on the programme will also benefit from a £2,500 grant and six months of intensive support to ensure they are ready for the next stage of growth, with training and advice ranging from financing and marketing to legal issues, business strategy and much more.

This cohort of businesses are also able to benefit from a £7,500 loan from the Finance Durham Fund, established by Durham County Council and managed by Maven Capital Partners.

Delivered primarily through boot camps, one-to-one support, mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars and networking events, DCI also recently linked up with The Experience Bank Group to help its entrepreneurs develop key leadership skills.

The eight companies included in the latest cohort are:

Crebl – operates a subscription-based model that enables customers to access a range of wellness and beauty services under one roof

Balefire – an artisan condiment producer that crafts gourmet condiments, vinegars and chilli sauce

Elvet Recruitment – a specialist construction recruitment firm that operates within the civil engineering, building and housing sectors

Huue – a mobile app that facilitates the rapid creation of graphics for social media and marketing

Kurfews – an independent clothing brand that also offers digital marketing services and apparel printing for small-to-medium-sized businesses

Frost Guard – a novel app that flags up early warnings when frost or snow is likely

Digistride – a growing digital marketing agency founded by two Durham alumni who work primarily with start-ups and innovative small businesses

Eden Greenspace – a eco-friendly venture that undertakes green projects to improve the environment and fight climate change

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director at Business Durham, said: “As we come through the COVID-19 pandemic, we need innovative businesses of all sizes to grow and sustain an economic recovery.

"DCI is designed to nurture and support these businesses, and the entrepreneurs who run them, so they have the best chance of achieving their business goals in County Durham."


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