DCI seventh cohortDurham City Incubator (DCI) – a joint programme between New College Durham, Durham University and Business Durham – is set to back its seventh round of start-up entrepreneurs.

The hugely successful six-month accelerator programme is designed to help entrepreneurs to launch start-ups with high growth potential, as well as ambitious local businesses that have been trading for under 12 months.

DCI is now working with the seventh cohort of seven diverse businesses from sectors including digital, food, marketing, and professional services. Each business will benefit from a £2,500 grant as well as six months of intensive training to ensure they are ready for the next stage of growth. Training and advice will cover areas ranging from financing and marketing to legal issues, business strategy and much more.

In addition to this, businesses can also benefit from a £7,500 loan from the Finance Durham Fund, established by Durham County Council and managed by Maven Capital Partners, a private equity and property specialist that offers funding options and equity investments to SMEs.

The six-month programme is primarily delivered through boot camps, one-to-one support, mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars, and networking events.

The seven Durham-based companies included in the latest cohort are:

  • Audemic Ltd – an app for students and researchers allowing them to listen to academic research papers and easily take notes and share knowledge with colleagues.
  • Sustain Meals Ltd – which provides healthy, sustainable, locally-sourced vegan meals, and has developed a meal box menu based around vegetable infused dahls.
  • Egeria Limited – which is building an app for students, academics and creative writers as a motivational tool to schedule and complete their work using milestone targets and achievements.
  • Hey! Food is Ready – an online marketplace for home-cooked meals, the platform connects home cooks from different cultural backgrounds with customers seeking freshly cooked meals.
  • Popliv Digital Ltd – a marketing agency specialising in SEO and digital marketing.
  • Lexoral Ltd – a software as a service for transcription and captioning, Lexoral combines AI-based automated transcription with simple tools to refine transcripts and auto correct mistakes.
  • Rare Rockets – a deaf-led organisation providing services for the deaf community, including BSL interpreters and PA support workers.

Sarah Slaven, managing director at Business Durham, said:

“We’re delighted to be welcoming the seventh cohort of ambitious new entrepreneurs to the Durham City Incubator programme. It’s very exciting to play a role in supporting these innovative new businesses as they grow and thrive.

“It’s also positive to see the level of academic talent that we’re retaining in Durham, as DCI continues to attract businesses choosing to start-up in the county.”

Peter Morrison, Assistant Principal at New College Durham said:

“The Durham City Incubator Programme continues to offer an excellent support package to a number of innovative businesses within County Durham. The mentoring and networking opportunities along with access to funding makes this a very attractive proposition to any potential business start-up. Being part of the partnership means New College Durham is able to support these new businesses with the use of facilities and support with branding and marketing materials. Seeing businesses develop from the ideas stage to a sustainable and in some cases scalable business is really inspiring for us and our students.”

DCI runs in cohorts that each last six months. For more information on this story or to apply for the next Durham City Incubator cohort, visit