The joint venture with New College Durham, Durham University and Business Durham has been helping up and coming businesses that have been trading for under 12 months, and local entrepreneurs with high growth potential, to accomplish their goals since they launched the incubator in 2018.

The previous five cohorts has helped 39 entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors to not only launch their business but achieve recognition and investment funding. Each of those businesses benefitted from six months of intensive one-to-one support from the DCI programme – including mentoring sessions, workshops, seminars and networking events to enable them to grow and scale up.

NetKnoWho is a networking platform connecting the North East business community, ensuring clients are making the best use of their networking time in a post-lockdown world, meeting the right people and having the right conversations.

NetKnoWho was launched this year by Jeni Smith, who has over 15 years’ experience in the networking industry. Jeni’s original networking ecosystem, which has seen huge success since the launch of her business in April 2020, now exists as a digital platform.

She said: “Being Part of the DCI programme was a huge help to me and the business.

"Those six months were intense, but packed full of useful content, training, and information.”

Taxigoat - an emerging mobile app that connects customers to local licensed taxi and private hire firms and guarantees the advertised price – was founded by Ross Pottenger.

ChatPro – a fast, secure messaging app for education, sport and social care organisations – also benefitted from the programme. ChatPro meets safeguarding needs and data protection duties whilst providing a safe and effective communication platform. Teacher, Harry Serle, created the platform so it was similar to WhatsApp but appropriate to be used in schools.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director at Business Durham, said:

"Through initiatives such as this, Business Durham and our partners at New College Durham and Durham University can support innovation and enterprise in the region.

"We will work closely with businesses every step of the way on their journey to develop and grow.”