The high-profile Tees Valley Business Summit saw the launch of new products and services by seven local small businesses, with support from Teesside University’s Grow Tees Valley project and Edge Innovation. Having not been able to launch their ideas during the pandemic, the project provided help and funding to promote them to an audience of over 750 people from the local business community.
The products launched ranged across digital learning tools, new ways of engaging customers, a novel cooking solution and more energy efficient buildings. Together, the small businesses had spent time preparing their launches and helping each other get ready to exhibit for the first time. As a group the seven demonstrate both the breadth of business activity in the Tees Valley and the ambition shown to grow successful organisations in the area. Success with their new products is expected to lead to significant new employment opportunities and sales growth.
Dr Suhail Aslam, Grow Tees Valley Programme manager at Teesside University welcomed the launch. “Grow Tees Valley is about helping local businesses to overcome challenges and grow. The growth of local businesses is crucial to drive forward the Tees Valley economy and achieve our shared ambitions for the area. It was so exciting to see such great ideas, from local small businesses, coming through to market launch and to be able to help them on their way. I can’t wait to see what happens next for them.”
The seven businesses were from across the Tees Valley, with innovative Redcar-based architecture and design firm The Sustainable Design Studio one of those involved. Stuart Duckett from the firm described why they had taken part. “As a small business, we can’t generally afford to exhibit at large scale events like the Business Summit. In any case, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare for such events. The Grow Tees Valley support has given us a great opportunity to share our novel ideas around sustainable development and energy efficiency with a wide audience. We picked up lots of new contacts on the day and we’re now working on how to turn these into new business, helping with our growth plans.”
The seven businesses involved were Samson Forth, YLearn and RJB Enriched Design from Darlington, SeerBI from Middlesbrough, OGEL World from Stockton-on-Tees and The Sustainable Design Studio and Festival of Thrift from Redcar. Marketing and events specialists from Horizon Works worked with the businesses to prepare them for the day.
Grow Tees Valley is a part-funded service available to growth-oriented Tees Valley businesses employing fewer than 250 staff with an annual turnover no greater than €50m per annum. The Grow Tees Valley project is receiving up to £3.238m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.