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Funding & Support

The Tees Valley is designated as an Assisted Area 'A' by the European Commission in agreement with the UK Government.  This means that from March 2017 an enhanced level of support can be made available for eligible businesses undertaking investment projects which will lead to sustainable growth and the creation of new employment in Darlington.

A suite of financial support is available to businesses considering locating to, or expanding in Darlington.

A selection of current schemes are detailed below, but to find out more about the support available to your business please get in touch.

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Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

NPIF [external link] is a collaboration between the government owned British Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North West, Yorkshire & The Humber and Tees Valley and provides commercially focused finance to help SMEs start up and grow. The fund provides 3 strands:- Microfinance for recent start-ups and existing businesses seeking to borrow £25 - £100k to kickstart activity; Debt Finance for SMEs needing to borrow larger amounts to finance growth; and Equity Finance for SMEs with ambitious growth plans seeking an equity injection from £50k - £2m.

Grow My Business

Tees Valley Business [external link] is your one-stop shop for all your business growth support needs, whether you’re an established Tees Valley business, an SME looking for further support, or right at the start of your journey with high growth ambitions.

We work with a range of local partners that offer support across a broad spectrum of areas from scale-up, start-up and funding and finance through to technical support linked to the digitalisation of your business processes and other technical assistance with product development and innovation.

Our Growth Fund grant programmes can provide a contribution of up to 55% in support of eligible capital and revenue based projects that lead to business growth.

Our support allows you to develop a tailored package of consultancy support and investment, which is the right fit for your business and draws upon wide range of potential support providers.

Peer Network Programme

There’s never been a more important time to prepare your business for the future. Join likeminded businesses and work together to find practical solutions to the challenges you’re all facing.

Through Peer Networks [external link], your business could get up to 9 hours of FREE specialist support from a panel of local businesses and professional advisors to suit the needs of your business, as identified in the group sessions.

The programme is fully-funded through Tees Valley Business, including one-to-one support.

Start A Business

Are you based in Tees Valley and thinking about becoming your own boss?  Not sure what funding and support is available to help you do this? The Tees Valley Business Start Up programme [external link] is for you.

Initially, you will meet your allocated business adviser who will develop a package of support specifically for your own start-up needs.

This support is free of charge and includes a variety of workshops covering everything you need to start your own business. These could include topics such as company structure, business planning, sales and marketing and social media.

Tees Valley Catalyst Fund

The Tees Valley Catalyst Fund [external link] provides the cash security required for performance and warranty bonds, for any company in Tees Valley.

Apprenticeship Support Grant

Apprenticeships are playing an increasingly important role in Tees Valley industry, helping to meet the needs of a growing and rapidly changing local economy.

Training and investing in apprentices can bring a wide range of business benefits. Whether that is through filling skills gaps, bringing fresh insights and ideas, or upskilling and revitalising the workforce to make sure your business is ready for the future.

In the extraordinary times we find ourselves in due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Tees Valley Combined Authority [external link] would like to support businesses to help them retain as many apprentices as possible and ensure their employment continues. The support is designed to assist employers who are committed to creating new Apprenticeships or progressing their existing Apprentice onto a higher level of Apprenticeship.

Small Business Leadership Programme

The Small Business Leadership Programme [external link] is a fully-funded programme available to Tees Valley businesses delivered online by Northumbria University business school.

It will provide support through a structured curriculum of 90 minute webinars over the course of 10 weeks with access to small business and management experts. The next cohort will begin on 16th March 2021.

Participants will create peer groups to develop strategic leadership skills, and the confidence to make informed decisions that boost business performance.

The curriculum explores leadership, innovation, employee engagement, operational efficiency, marketing, sustainable practices, and finance.

SME Energy Efficiency Scheme

Do you want to find out how your business could reduce its energy use, cut carbon emissions and save money?

If you are an SME based in Tees Valley, the SME Energy Efficiency Scheme [external link] can support you with a fully-funded energy efficiency audit and expert advice. You could also be eligible for a SMEES grant to help you with the upfront costs of your energy saving project.

You can also access informative factsheets, information sessions, CPD workshops.

Kickstart Tees Valley

The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme [external link] which will put young people at the heart of the economic recovery by supporting the creation of six month paid work placements for young people aged 16-24 years of age in receipt of Universal Credit. This is for any business across all sectors including the private, public and voluntary and community sectors.

To support the many small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Mayor Houchen has pledged to act as a Gateway for businesses who wish to offer less than 30 Job Placements.

In addition to acting as a Gateway for Tees Valley businesses the Tees Valley Combined Authority will also provide extended wrap around support for the young person to access support to ensure a positive progression once the Kickstart Job placement ends.

Digital Boost

Digital Boost [external link] is a free volunteering platform uniting leaders of small businesses and charities with digital experts. The programme offers free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers.

Digital Boost does that by providing a community of digital expert volunteers to support charities and small businesses through “Boost Calls” (1-on-1 support calls) “Boost Workshops” (hands-on webinars) and “Boost Skills” (curated resources on digitisation).

Skills for Growth

The Skills for Growth Programme [external link] is here to help Tees Valley SMEs fill any skills gaps within their team – now, or in the future – to boost productivity, and improve their competitive position. You can access funded support from an expert skills development advisor to help you pin-point your business’s skills needs, navigate your options, and access further training, or support needed to grow.

EU Support

For support and advice relating to the SME Brexit Support Fund, custom training grants, incoterms, tariffs, employees, exporting and importing speak to one of the team using the FREE 24hr helpline.

Tees Valley Business [external link]