Business Durham has supported local business man Paul Devine, owner of digital company Devine Media, to secure nearly £44k from the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF). The funding will be used to create a new digital enterprise hub in Station Town, East Durham, and will see a former community building transformed into 16 offices to house new and early stage creative and digital businesses.
Paul Devine commented, “I have first-hand knowledge of the difficulties faced by small digital businesses trying to find space in East Durham and I wanted to do something about it. The community centre had been vacant for some time and it seemed an ideal business opportunity to address the gap in provision. Work is progressing quickly to bring the redundant building back into use. I have already had interest in the space and one business has already signed up for a virtual address. The team at Business Durham were a great help, advising me on what we needed to include in our application to turn my ideas into a successful project.”
Congratulating Paul, Joanne Urquhart-Arnold, Business Development Area Manager (East) at Business Durham said: “We were delighted to support Paul in his ambitious plans. Our team have expert knowledge of what is required to secure this type of funding and were able to guide him throughout the funding application process. We look forward to continuing to support the company and providing advice and guidance as the project develops.”
The team at Business Durham were also able to arrange mentoring visits at business centres owned and managed by Business Durham, giving Paul first-hand experience of how a business centre operates.
The centre, due to open in January 2018, will have a range of spaces available, from one person offices upwards. It will have meeting room space, a green room for photographers/videographers, and informal communal, networking spaces. The project is expected to create 23 jobs, accommodate 14 businesses and create 180 sq m of refurbished commercial floorspace.
The North East Rural Growth Network fund aims to stimulate investment in the development of business infrastructure in rural areas. In 2015, the Rural Growth Network secured £6 million capital investment from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Growth Deal – Local Growth Fund. This investment will support businesses in the rural areas of Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland until 2020.