Eighteen businesses secured several new contracts and gained multiple new business leads following their participation in the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) Engineering and Manufacturing Programme of support in 2021.
Businesses gathered at a celebration event at Salvus House, Aykley Heads to share their successes, best connections, key learning points, as well as aspirations for the future.
Companies from a range of sectors benefitted from focussed support delivered by North East based sales consultancy Buzztastic Ltd on behalf of Business Durham, the support service for Durham County Council. Founder and owner of Buzztastic Victoria Fleming fronted the programme sharing her expertise with a combination of one-to-one support, workshops, networking opportunities and online resources to equip businesses with the skills they need to increase sales opportunities.
Victoria commented: “This programme helps businesses get under the skin of the sales and marketing process, to help people gain the skills and confidence they need to sell their business to their target market. There is a big misconception that to exhibit at EMCON you need to be working in the sector, but that’s simply not true. Some of the biggest successes from the 2021 programme were businesses from outside of the sector that offered expertise which was hugely beneficial to engineering and manufacturing businesses. This could include HR services, marketing, law, project management, and a whole host of other services that often don’t get the attention they deserve within the sector. For a lot of businesses, hiring in external support is the perfect fit.”
The ERDF funded programme is aimed at businesses that haven’t exhibited at large events and specifically geared towards preparing those businesses to exhibit within the DBOP Incubator Zone at the region’s flagship engineering and manufacturing conference. The annual event takes place at Newton Aycliffe’s Xcel Centre and is managed by The Engineering and Manufacturing Network, a membership organisation aimed at sustaining and growing the region’s engineering and manufacturing sector.
Programme benefits included attracting new clients, gathering sales leads, strategy development, networking plus increased brand exposure and awareness. 2021 was the fourth year the DBOP Incubator Zone has featured at EMCON, with an impressive back catalogue of success stories including several companies who have gone from strength to strength graduating to take a larger exhibition stand at subsequent events.
Businesses like precision tool regrinding and manufacturing company Renovo Solutions Ltd, who participated in the 2019 event and have since gone on to secure over £250,000 in funding, take on more staff and win more work.
Marketing agency Shout Loud Social started their full-service agency a little over 12 months before exhibiting at EMCON and for owners Aiden and Ryan the conference has been a resounding success. Ryan said: “The workshops, one-to-one support, plus tips from Victoria at Buzztastic really helped us to prepare for the conference. We did our research, prepared our pitch, and thought of some excellent conversation starters, which really did pay dividends on the day. We have three brand new clients and several more in the pipeline as a direct result of our participation in this programme of support. We would highly recommend this to any County Durham business looking to increase their sales in this sector.”
Lisa Wall, manager for the DBOP Engineering and Manufacturing support programme added “The 2021 programme delivered some outstanding results. This support was developed with the primary aim of helping businesses win more contracts within the engineering and manufacturing sector. Already businesses are reporting new contract wins, sales leads and connections that will have a hugely positive impact on their growth. We look forward to continuing that support on an ongoing basis through Business Durham.”
Another huge benefit of the programme is that all graduating companies receive a year’s membership to the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN). Advantages include networking events, opportunities to bid for work, easy access to the EMN network, and increased exposure for businesses to a focussed and engaged audience.
If your County Durham business is working in or would like to make connections and win work within the region’s established engineering and manufacturing sector, please get in touch to find out more about the 2022 DBOP Engineering and Manufacturing Programme businessdurham.co.uk/dbop.
The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is a six-year programme for SMEs running up until November 2022. It is funded through ERDF and delivered by Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more and better jobs and a strong competitive economy.