Ambitious businesses from across County Durham have come together to celebrate the success of the Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups (DABS) programme.

Last week saw the bringing together of like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs from across the Durham area at Hotel Indigo for a special celebration evening to recognise the significant economic impact of the DABS programme over the last three years.

DABS is an ERDF-funded programme that helps high-quality start-ups in County Durham start trading and offers premium quality support to those who have started up in business in the last 12 months.

Delivered by Tedco Business Support and UMi on behalf of Business Durham, the scheme has been accessed by 329 individuals already and places are still available.

Everyone who enrolled has benefitted from hands-on, in-depth support and, so far, 126 new businesses are thriving in County Durham and taking on new employees as a result.

With the scheme scheduled to end this December, businesses interested in receiving support are encouraged to get in touch with DABS while support is still available.

To do so, simply register your interest here and the team will be in touch.

The celebration evening was an exclusive, invite-only event for companies that have received support from DABS, hosted by Jeni Smith, Founder of NetKno.

Taking place the night before the 3rd annual DABS Festival of Enterprise (13 October), attendees heard the inspirational stories of Maxine Caine from Max Purpose Psychology Ltd and Kat Sykes from Stalemate Ltd, who both spoke at the event.

Sarah Slaven, Managing Director at Business Durham said: “Start-up businesses make a vital contribution to the economy in County Durham, and it’s fantastic to have been able to help so many through DABS. The programme has helped equip these ambitious new entrepreneurs with the skills to tackle the challenges companies face today and seek out opportunities to help them grow.

“DABS is an essential part of the package of support on offer for businesses in County Durham. I encourage anyone who has an idea for a new business or is in the early stages of their business journey to contact the Business Durham team to find out about the extensive support available.”

Nicki Clark OBE, UMi Chief Executive, said: “The DABS programme is a perfect example of the public and private sector working together to help early-stage companies get off the ground.

“We’ve been delighted to work with Business Durham and Tedco over the last three years on this ground-breaking initiative.

“From the whole team here at UMi, I want to congratulate all the fantastic start-ups we have supported through DABS – it was great to see so many of them in attendance at this event.”

James Craft, Enterprise Development Manager at TEDCO, said: “As a Durham lad, I know the mix of talent and aspiration here is immense, so delivering this programme is an absolute privilege.”

“Entrepreneurs deserve to be heard, understood, and nurtured. Business Durham’s DABS Programme enables exactly that.”

“With participants accessing support and guidance from an experienced team, they can address challenges early and allow their ambitions to become a reality. We’re proud to be on that journey with them and look forward to meeting the last intake of the DABS programme.”