Janet Todd, manager at the North East Technology Park, (NETPark) talks about how companies can benefit from being part of an open and inclusive network at the park and how they can access advice and support to help their business flourish.
“Business Durham arrange regular innovation talks and they always focus around a specific topic, which is of real benefit to businesses. It was fantastic to see one company, Quorum, based at NETPark, receive £37,000 in research and development tax credits recently as a result of one of our talks. Companies often don’t realise they’re entitled to claim them, but it can make quite a sizeable difference, as Quorum has demonstrated.
“We have an excellent relationship with all of the companies at NETPark and work closely with them from the initial enquiry stage, when we discuss their specific requirements and identify the type of space they need, through to fit out. We provide a mixture of lab and office space and can support them as they work on a lab fit offering project management or simply introducing them to the right people. Our connections are of huge benefit to businesses. We introduced pharmaceutical company Northumbria Pharma to the Rural Development Programme, for example, and they’ve successfully applied for a grant worth more than £160K.
“We can also advise on a range of other issues, from health and safety to IT solutions and as businesses thrive, we can help them grow into bigger space. When the time comes for expansion, we can use our contacts again. One of the positive aspects of being part of the local authority is that we can put companies in touch with the right people quickly, such as in planning or building control, which is really useful if a company is managing their own fit out. We know the right people to speak to so it can make the process smoother.
“There are 51 businesses on the park and our new Explorer building is 35 per cent full already. One of the things I regularly see among businesses on the park is collaboration. It’s a very open and transparent environment and many companies work on projects in partnership.
“Our role at Business Durham is to offer tailored advice and support. We help businesses raise their profile with our complimentary PR service. It’s a very supportive environment in which companies flourish – whether they’re in the Incubator or in larger premises, such as Kromek. The support doesn’t stop at a certain level of growth – it continues as the business develops.”