Seven Country Durham entrepreneurs are on track for success after signing up to a six-month accelerator programme at Durham City Incubator (DCI).

DCI was set up in 2018 as a joint venture between Durham University, New College Durham and Business Durham, to support local businesses that have been trading for under 12 months, as well as to support local entrepreneurs launch start-ups with high growth potential.

DCI has already supported 16 entrepreneurs and due to their success, they are now working with seven exciting new businesses, covering a range of sectors including research, technology, catering, design, and education.

Each business gets a £2,500 grant plus six months of intensive support, with training and advice ranging from financing and marketing to legal issues and business strategy.

The six-month programme is delivered through boot camps, one-to-one support, mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars, and networking events.

The seven companies in the latest cohort are:

  • Doxa Consultancy, an organisation that provides students and researchers with professional support to facilitate the completion of academic projects.
  • Scientistt, a networking platform for research students and academic research groups, which also promotes research opportunities.
  • The Little LunchBox, a delivery service offering a range of healthy, creative foods for children.
  • GW Technologies, an online platform for internships that connects employers and students together.
  • ChatPro Ltd, an instant messaging platform that complies with safeguarding requirements;
  • Alderham Design Ltd, a branding and design agency.
  • Vanguard Technology, a medtech company developing an innovative product.

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director at Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted to be working with a third cohort of ambitious new businesses. We’re really looking forward to working closely with our partners to help nurture and support the entrepreneurs as they grow and scale up their business in Durham.

“It is great to see the Incubator continuing to attract innovative businesses that are choosing to start-up in Durham. With our support, the entrepreneurs can gain the skills they need to build a business with longevity and which will make a real impact on the local economy.”

No, not that kind of incubator: birds need not apply. Photo by Christian Bowen

Each of the businesses has the option to access a £7,500 loan, due to DCI’s partnership with Northstar Ventures and the North East Innovation Fund.

Dr Tim Hammond, Director of Commercialisation and Economic Development at Durham University, said: “As a partner of the Durham City Incubator (DCI), we are delighted to see the continued success of the programme.

“Four Durham University start-ups will receive support in the third cohort of the programme, and we are looking forward to seeing how they grow and develop over the coming months.

“Supporting start-ups in County Durham is central to the area’s economic growth and helps us to make sure the University’s research has a positive impact on the region and further afield.”

Dawn Fairlamb, Vice Principal at New College Durham added: “Having been involved with DCI from the beginning, we’re delighted to see it continue for a third cohort. What makes it even more exciting for us, is one of our own graduates will be part of the programme with his business Alderham Design Ltd. New College Durham Graduate, Jacob Ham, is the founder of the company, which is a branding and design agency catering for SMEs. We’re really looking forward to seeing Jacob and all the other entrepreneurs’ businesses develop with the incubator. It’s such a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs to take advantage of.”

Durham City Incubator is part of Durham Internships and Collaborative Enterprise (DICE), which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

DCI runs in cohorts that last six months. You want to get on the next one?


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