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Business Durham appoints Interim Managing Director

Sarah Slaven is taking on the role of Interim Managing Director at Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, following the departure of Brian Archer.

Sarah was part of the management team that established Business Durham in 2012 and held the post of Operations Director until taking on her current position as Interim Managing Director in January 2020.  Sarah will hold this position while recruitment for a replacement Managing Director takes place.

In her previous role, Sarah had responsibility for leading Business Durham’s business engagement, inward investment and enterprise activities.

As Operations Director, Sarah led the implementation of the £20 million Finance Durham Fund with Maven Capital Partners, which has made 14 investments totalling £4.3 million into 10 dynamic businesses across County Durham.

She was responsible for securing over £10 million ERDF funding for projects to support businesses in the county, such as the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), Digital Drive County Durham and the County Durham Growth Fund.

Sarah was also instrumental in setting up the Durham City Incubator based at Salvus House, a unique collaboration between Business Durham, Durham University and New College Durham to retain graduate talent and support graduate enterprise in Durham.

Sarah is a Member of the Institute of Economic Development, and holds a BA (Hons) in Law and Economics, and an MBA from Durham University.

Currently, Sarah is a Director of County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) and of Aycliffe Business Park Ltd, as well as serving on the Board of the County Durham Economic Partnership and Innovate North East Ltd.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director at Business Durham said: “I’m proud to be given the opportunity to lead and build on the great work that Business Durham is already doing to support business growth, create jobs and attract inward investment to Durham.

“Business Durham is a trusted advisor to hundreds of business owners across the county and we will continue to provide expert knowledge, in-depth advice, and ongoing support for every stage of business growth.

“I’m passionate about the fantastic assets and businesses we have here and I look forward to the opportunities that 2020 will bring.”

Tania Cooper MBE, Managing Director of Steel Benders UK Ltd and member of the Business Durham Advisory Board said: “Sarah has over 25 years’ experience in economic development, business support and partnership working in County Durham, in particular leading on business engagement to help businesses start-up, develop and grow in County Durham.

“I have no doubt that Sarah will continue to deliver exceptional results in her role as Interim Managing Director at Business Durham.”


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At Business Durham, we believe that sharing positive news stories about successful businesses in County Durham is important for fostering a supportive and thriving business community. We want to encourage business owners to send us their success stories so that we can share them on our website and celebrate their achievements. We are committed to promoting the county as a great place to do business and providing a platform for businesses to showcase their successes.

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