Electrical and fire alarm safety specialist, Safety Checked, has secured new business contracts worth more than £600k with help from the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP).

Set up just over four years ago by Martin Hurton and Richard Leckenby, Safety Checked specialises in installation and compliance checks of electrical and fire safety systems and employs six staff at its Tanfield Lea base. Since its inception, the company has gone from strength-to-strength, operating and growing despite the pandemic.

As well as being resilient and available to clients throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the firm attributes much of this success to DBOP’s Routes to Contract Success programme, which was managed by Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Council.

The programme ran to October 2019 and aimed to help County Durham SMEs win more public and private sector contracts through a range of support such as ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, workshops, expert briefings and one-to-one sessions.

After participating in the Routes to Contract Success programme, Safety Checked has scooped more than £600k worth of new business, including multiple contracts with Newcastle University.

Co-founder of Safety Checked, Martin Hurton, said: “Taking part in the Routes to Contract Success programme helped me greatly when it came to writing the Newcastle University tender. It really showed me how to complete what can be quite technical and complex tenders in the best way, so we know we’re putting ourselves in the strongest possible position to win the work.

“We know we’re very good at what we do, and offer our clients excellent value for money, but getting that down on paper can be challenging, however after taking part in the programme I came away feeling much better about tendering for work.

“I am confident that this support strand through Durham Business Opportunities Programme was a major factor in us winning the Newcastle University tender, which without a doubt helped us during the months of lockdown.

“Going forward, we’re definitely targeting work through tenders and are in a much stronger position to succeed.”

Following the overwhelming success of the Routes to Contract Success, DBOP is now offering a ‘Construction – Routes to Success’ programme. This two-year business support initiative is helping County Durham SMEs in the construction sector and supply chain develop the skills and knowledge to win more public and private sector contracts by showing them how to successfully bid for infrastructure and new commercial projects, including with housing associations, home builders, facilities management providers and major utility, public sector and transport customers.

DBOP is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is helping County Durham businesses spot opportunities for sustainable growth.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director at Business Durham, said: “As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, it has never been more important to support businesses to grow and create jobs. It’s great to see how initiatives such as DBOP and its Routes to Success programmes are helping to do this so successfully.”