General Overview

Why Locate In County Durham?

County Durham is one of England’s crown jewels and famous for its internationally acclaimed World Heritage Site, which is home to the famous cathedral and castle. With a rich heritage of industry and innovation, the county is a base for world-leading companies including GSK, Caterpillar, NSK, Hitachi Rail, Atom Bank and II-VI.

The County also nurtures several home-grown success stories such as Seaward Electronics, Kromek, Gestamp Tallent, Thomas Swan and Thorn Lighting, which employ significant numbers of people.

So, why locate your business here?

Why Locate In County Durham?

Affordable Business Premises

Choosing the right location for your business premises is a critical decision which can impact your sales, staff and future development.

County Durham offers a fantastic range of high-quality office and industrial premises to suit all businesses, irrespective of size or sector. We have several new and expanding developments coming to the market, offering both speculative schemes and design and build options for those looking for bespoke solutions. This puts us in a unique position, particularly when searching for industrial units which are in short supply in other areas of the country. 

Commercial property costs in the county are also some of the lowest in the UK, providing significant savings for businesses.

Use the link below to find your perfect business premises. Alternatively, contact our team if you would like us to do a search on your behalf.

https://property.businessdurham.co.uk/vacancy. 

A Hotbed Of Innovation

County Durham is the perfect destination for innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs, home-grown businesses plus a range of national and multinational organisations. On our doorstep is a unique mix of talented people, world-leading research facilities, a growing portfolio of first-class commercial premises and strong collaboration between the region’s education institutions and local businesses.

Innovation hubs linked to the region’s five universities bring together research and development activity, as well as spin-off companies and facilities. Since 1997, for example, Durham University has launched 25 spin-out companies that have supported almost 1,000 jobs. 

Also based in the county is NETPark, the only UK science park with two catapults: the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the North East Satellite Applications Catapult. The park is also home to The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) which manages three national innovation centres including:

Access To Skills And Talent

County Durham businesses have access to over 486,000 people of working age who live within a 30-minute commute of the city centre. Our highly skilled workforce is famed for its loyalty, friendliness, and can-do attitude. 

There’s also a continuous flow of fresh talent to support business growth, with more than 110,000 students enrolling at one of the North East’s five world-class universities each year and 59% of graduates gaining employment in the region.

There is excellent further education and training provision across the county, with many institutions offering A-Levels, T-levels, apprenticeships and continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. 

Business Durham can assist businesses locating to the county with their recruitment and skills needs, from finding suitable courses for staff to accessing funding for training initiatives. We’ve forged strong links with various organisations including Durham University, New College Durham and UTC South Durham, which work with our team on a range of initiatives, including the important issue of addressing potential skills gaps to ensure there is a pipeline of talent for the future.

Grants And Funding Support

Accessing the right funding for your business can be a bit of a minefield. At Business Durham, we’re here to show you the best funding opportunities for your company.

Finance Durham

Finance Durham offers funding options from £150,000 to £800,000, with ten per cent of the fund earmarked for smaller investments of between £10,000 and £40,000 for incubation businesses.

For more information visit http://www.financedurham.co.uk/  

County Durham Growth Fund

The County Durham Growth Fund is for SMEs planning a capital investment of at least £100,000 which will lead to the creation of additional employment.

For more information visit https://www.countydurhamgrowthfund.co.uk/ 

Digital Drive Durham

Delivered by UMi, Digital Drive Durham is designed to help SMEs in the county to become more digitally resilient. Support includes fully funded masterclasses, workshops and conferences, digital health checks and grant funding for digital projects. 

For more information visit https://www.digitaldrivedurham.co.uk/funding   

Durham Future Innovation Building (DFIB) programme

This programme is designed to support businesses that are investing in research and innovation, particularly those in the construction, health and electech sectors. 

For more information visit https://www.businessdurham.co.uk/how-we-can-help/innovation/durham-future-innovation-building-project/

Our Finance Network

Business Durham has strong links with banks and financial intermediaries and we’ve helped several companies to access venture capital and government grants, such as NBSL and Finance for Business North East. 

Whether it’s innovation grants, debt, equity or asset-backed finance you need, we can help you find it. Advice on R&D tax credits and other tax reliefs is also available. 

Excellent Transport Links

The county’s air, rail and road infrastructure provide excellent links to the rest of the UK, Europe and further afield. The closest airports are Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley with several daily flights to Heathrow and Schiphol. Durham Rail Station is well served by LNER, CrossCountry and TransPennine Express trains, providing regular services to London Kings Cross in under 3 hours.

The A1M and A19 are the main north-south road routes and provide good connectivity to other parts of the UK, with commute times among the lowest in the UK. County Durham is also well served by ports at Teesport, Hartlepool, the Tyne, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Blyth. 

First-Class Connectivity

County Durham businesses are well connected, with 97% of the county having access to superfast broadband coverage, which is in line with the UK average. The county is now focusing on the roll-out of next-generation broadband services, such as full fibre connections and expanding 5G network capability across Durham.