An SME business hub which has supported the growth of hundreds of ventures across the North East has now established a base in the Tees Valley to provide dedicated support to the Tees business community.

The Tees Valley Business Hub, powered by the SME Centre of Excellence (SMECofE), has opened a base in Boho in Middlesbrough to offer a full range of support services to startups, scale ups and high-growth businesses throughout the area.

The team, backed by partners from across the Tees Valley, offer a bespoke holistic approach to entrepreneurs and innovators to help them start their business, survive and thrive. With a strong focus on digital, the Tees Valley Business Hub will also offer expert support in areas from new market entry and product development to core back office functions including HR, accountancy and marketing.

The Tees Valley Business Hub builds on the success of its first hub, based in Ponteland, Northumberland, which has worked with hundreds of businesses from all sectors throughout the North East since its opening in September 2018.

Having already supported around 200 Tees-based businesses during that time, and delivered Digital City Scale, Investor Readiness and Accelerator Programmes on behalf of Teesside University over the past three years, SMECofE is now in a position to extend that even further by having a dedicated Tees Valley centre.

Led by prominent Tees entrepreneurs Matt Atkinson and Jordan Dargue, they will work alongside the creator of SMECofE, Ammar Mirza – awarded a CBE for his efforts in promoting the North East business community – to deliver the tailored support Tees Valley businesses need to help get them to the next level, guiding them through the current COVID-19 crisis and map out a plan for their future.

Its opening has been welcomed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who said: “Supporting our fantastic local businesses is my absolute priority and is more important than ever as we continue our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and the new Tees Valley Business Hub will play a crucial part in that.

“My plan for the economic recovery of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is a plan for jobs which will see the creation of good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people, and this new centre will support hundreds of businesses in our region to help them invest, grow and create these jobs.”

The team already has strong relationships with many businesses and business support services – it has recently been appointed as a partner for Tees Valley Business Support funding – and is also looking to develop links with serviced office providers to offer additional tailored assistance to tenants.

Matt Atkinson, Chief Executive of the Tees Valley Business Hub, said: “The Tees Valley business community is unique and we have established this Hub in response to the specific challenges and needs that entrepreneurs here will face, both in the current climate and into the future. The SMECofE is a very well-established brand in the North East, and to have already supported so many Tees businesses is phenomenal, but to truly support our community, you have to be part of it.

“Digital transformation is a key focus for us and presents a significant area of growth for the Tees Valley. As an entrepreneur, I have years’ of experience in this field and I have seen first-hand what it takes to establish and grow a successful business here. Working with our expert team, I want to pass on our knowledge and experience to others and work alongside them to offer the right support at the right time and help them to achieve their full potential.”

Chief operating officer Jordan Dargue added: “These are exciting times for the Tees Valley. We have so many businesses led by dynamic and passionate entrepreneurs which could be set for big things with the right guidance at the right time – and that’s where we come in. We work with everyone from startups to scale ups and established international brands to help them realise the vision for their business and how to achieve it.

“Our ambition is to help businesses already based here, as well as to help attract inward investment and bring new ventures to the Tees Valley through the first-rate business support on offer.

With our bespoke support in all areas of what it takes to run a business, we can help them thrive and continue to show the world that the Tees Valley is the place to be.”