Twenty new jobs have been created since a support programme to help County Durham engineering and manufacturing companies to grow launched.

The Incubator Zone was added to the EMCON line up in 2017 to attract those companies who had never before exhibited at the event.

A strand of the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), part of Business Durham, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the programme puts participants through 12 hours of support to prepare them for exhibiting, with the aim of them being in the strongest position possible to win work at EMCON.

And now statistics compiled by the DBOP team ahead of the final year of the Incubator Zone show that twenty new jobs have so far being created by the 38 companies who have exhibited, with more in the pipeline as participants looks to convert leads into new business.

Michael Harriott, DBOP business engagement officer, said: “The aim of the Incubator Zone is to help companies win work through exhibiting at EMCON, and not only have they done that but have so far created 20 new jobs between them which is fantastic.

“We have some businesses that have added more than one employee, while others have recruited apprentices or trainees to support their growth, which really backs up the importance of the programme.

“These are companies which would otherwise have never exhibited at EMCON, whether because of a lack of resources, budget, or experience, and now as a direct result of exhibiting and the support they’ve been given by the DBOP team and LEC Communications and Design, which is managing the project, they have seen their portfolios and headcount grow.”

Among the businesses that have recruited since the Incubator Zone launched are Shred Direct, Moralbox, JSB Enterprises, Emotional Intelligence, Beacon 365, Millbank Solutions and Concision.

The business to see the biggest growth since is Peterlee-based Steadfast Security, which has added five employees to its headcount after exhibiting in 2017.

The Incubator Zone programme offers participants a package of support which includes one to one and workshop training to prepare for exhibiting, marketing materials including a banner stand and flyers designed and printed, and on the day and post-event support to capitalise on the opportunities presented at EMCON.

Ben Gilhespy, Operations Director at the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN), said: “It’s fantastic to hear that twenty new jobs have been created from the Incubator Zone. That’s on top of the £300,000 plus of new contracts won by exhibitors. This year is the final year of the programme so I would urge any businesses that are looking to grow to book up now – it’s a proven platform to business growth as the exhibitors from 2017 and 2018 can testify to.”

If you want to know more about the Incubator Zone please visit or email

Hundreds of people attended last year’s event, with over 100 companies exhibiting and several themed sessions held throughout the day. Stadler Rail UK was the event’s inaugural headline sponsor with Business Durham and RM Manufacturing the gold sponsors and Jackson Hogg the delivery partner.

For more information on the 2019 event visit