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Fostering a Culture of Innovation in County Durham

Innovation is key to the growth and success of businesses and regions. Here in County Durham, we are committed to fostering a vibrant culture of innovation that allows companies to turn ideas into reality. At Business Durham, we provide comprehensive support and resources to help local businesses innovate and bring new products, services and processes to market.

Spotting Opportunities for Innovation

The starting point for innovation is identifying challenges and unmet needs that could be addressed through new solutions. Our one-to-one engagement with businesses across County Durham enables us to help companies spot potential opportunities to innovate. We look at emerging trends, changes in markets and technology, and talk to companies about the pain points they experience. Together, we can pinpoint where there are openings for innovative new offerings that give businesses a competitive edge.

Accessing Large-Scale Commercial Opportunities

In addition to needs within individual companies, major projects and infrastructure developments in the region present significant commercial opportunities for innovation. We make sure local businesses know about and can take advantage of these. For example, opportunities stemming from groundbreaking scientific work at facilities like CERN and the Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) have potential applications that our innovative companies are well-placed to capitalise on. By promoting these openings, we help businesses bring new technologies to market.

Building Resilience Through Forward-Thinking

Enabling innovation is also about future-proofing local business against disruption. Emerging developments like automation, AI, big data and the Internet of Things will profoundly transform industries through what’s known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. By raising awareness about Industry 4.0 and looking at both its opportunities and threats, we help businesses innovate to build their resilience. Companies can implement forward-thinking strategies to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies and new ways of doing business.

Access to Support Programmes and Funding

Bringing innovative ideas to fruition requires expertise and resources. We guide businesses through regional and national innovation funding programmes and make connections to key support channels.

These include programmes through Innovate UK and the innovation arms of the Research Councils. Our assistance helps companies successfully access grants, loans and equity financing for research, technology development and demonstration projects.

Hands-On Help to Take Innovation Forward

Innovation support has to be grounded in the real needs of businesses. Through our services, we provide end-to-end assistance tailored to companies’ specific requirements across every stage of the innovation process.

  1. Ideation and concept development – We help companies identify promising ideas and translate concepts into solid innovation plans.

  2. Research and development – Our programmes facilitate collaborations with academic and technology partners to turn ideas into reality through R&D.

  3. Testing and validation – We link businesses with facilities to test prototypes and run pilots to validate their innovations.

  4. Commercialisation and growth – We assist with IP protection, licensing, access to markets, and scaling up innovations

Cultivating Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

Innovation flourishes through collaboration. We actively connect businesses with potential innovation partners including universities, fellow industry players and startups. Networking events and industry special interest groups enable productive interactions to spark new ideas.

Knowledge sharing is also crucial to building an innovation ecosystem. Our online resources and workshops make it easy for companies to stay up to date on the latest trends, funding opportunities, events and training in innovation topics.

World-Class Infrastructure for Innovators

Access to cutting-edge facilities gives businesses the infrastructure they need to drive innovation. Through NETPark, we provide office, lab and clean room facilities where companies can develop prototypes and technologies.

NETPark also offers a base for high-tech startups and space for businesses to collaborate with neighbouring research intensive organisations including Durham University. This cluster effect generates knowledge exchange and speeds up innovation development.

Making Innovation Happen

At Business Durham, we take an action-oriented approach to innovation support for local companies. Our comprehensive assistance makes it easier for businesses to turn ideas into reality and grow through innovation. By fostering an enabling ecosystem, we empower businesses to address challenges, seize opportunities and position County Durham as a hub of innovation.

Get in touch with us today to explore how we can support your company’s innovation goals and strategic priorities. Our tailored services will help you achieve innovation success.

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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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