County Durham has been named as one of the best places to start up a new business.
Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions have placed the county as third best in the UK for new firms, with 1,180 businesses set up under the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance programme.
I’d always contemplated started my photography business but I never had the courage. Now I’m working flat out and loving it.Stephen Metcalf
They included Stephen Metcalf, 56, from Durham, who was made redundant from his job with an apprenticeship training company and turned his life-long passion for photography into a business.
He turned to business advisor Debbie Simpson at the CDC Enterprise Agency and got support on issues such as finance, marketing and networking.
Two months after launching his business, he won a contract with an online car company and now works across the region.
He said: “I’d always contemplated started my photography business but I never had the courage.
He said he was “working flat out and loving it.”
In County Durham, four enterprise agencies worked together to deliver the New Enterprise Allowance Programme, as members of the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, in partnership with JobCentrePlus.
Joe Murray, of CDC Enterprise Agency said: “It’s fantastic to see that County Durham’s enterprising spirit is alive and well within our communities..
Denise Fielding, of East Durham Business Service, said: “The New Enterprise Allowance programme has proved to be very successful and we hope it will continue to be a significant part of our business support offer in the future.”
Paul McEldon, chairman of the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to have played a part in this significant achievement for County Durham..
Sarah Slaven, business development director with Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, said enterprising people in the county could turn their hobbies and interests into “thriving businesses.”
The top five start-up areas in the country, according to the new statistics, were:
• Liverpool (1,410).
• Sheffield (1,250).
• County Durham (1,180).
• Birmingham (1,140).
• Glasgow City (1,140).