RECORD numbers of entrepreneurs turned out for a major business event where they heard about a new support network for companies.
The Tees Valley Business Summit saw 1,000 delegates attend at Teesside University. The occasion was also used to launch a new support project for firms in which they could win grants and expert backing.
It is called the Tees Valley Business Compass and offers support through a helpline, a dedicated team and an online tool, all giving companies up-to-date information on the latest support programmes and initiatives available.
It can also help businesses to secure grants of up to £25,000.
More than 650 delegates signed up to the summit where the highlights included seminars, workshops, one-to-one advice meetings and networking opportunities.
As well as visitors, there were more than 320 people staffing 80 stands where the companies which were represented included PD Ports, The Thirteen Group (which includes Housing Hartlepool), Tilly Bailey & Irvine solicitors, East Durham College, Waltons Clark Whitehill and UK Steel Enterprise.
The event was organised by Tees Valley Unlimited whose managing director Stephen Catchpole said he was delighted with the turnout. “This is our third summit and we have gone from 270 delegates in the first year to 470 last year and 1,000 this time.
“It is well established now as a business to business event where companies can learn and share information to help them improve.”
He said the business compass was borne out of Regional Growth Fund finances and subject to certain criteria, could help firms with support.
But Mr Catchpole stressed the hard work was not done and Monday’s announcement – that Tees Valley had won £90m for everything from education to the roads network – was proof that the area was battling to bring in more money.
He said the Tees Valley local enterprise partnership (LEP) was in the top 10 of LEPs for money secured under the Growth Deal announcement.
Mr Catchpole added that talks had been held with the Government and TVU would begin negotiating for finances for the year 2017-2018 from this autumn.