Bookings open for Darlington Business Week

Cllr alan Marshall, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, Mark Ladyman

HOW to grow and develop a business, staying cyber safe, developing international trade and the potential pitfalls around social media use are some of the hot topics covered during this year’s Darlington Business Week, set to take place from Monday 7 until Friday 11 October.

More than fourteen free networking events, workshops and seminars, will take place at a range of venues across the town, giving local and regional businesses of all sizes the chance to meet fellow business people and find out how they can access what’s on offer to help them grow and develop their companies.

Advice on funding and business growth, exporting, training, social media and marketing, social enterprise, preventing digital and cyber fraud and scams, (including a live online hack), looking after mental health and much more, will be on offer throughout the week.

The Week will be launched on Monday 7 October 8.30am at the Teesside University National Horizons Centre, Central Park, Darlington, by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen along with Councillor Alan Marshall, the council’s cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration and Mark Ladyman, Assistant Director, Economic Growth. They will be talking about opportunities and developments in Darlington and the wider Tees Valley.

Organised by the council’s Business Investment team, the Week is supported by a wide range of organisations including Business Central, Barclays Bank, Citizen’s Advice, The Police, North East England Chamber of Commerce, Clive Owen, Darlington College, Teesside University, TEDCO and Darlington Business Club. The popular Jobs Fair will also return on Thursday 10 October from 10am-2pm, places are available for prospective employers to book a free stand at the Jobs Fair.

Councillor Alan Marshall, the council’s cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration, said:

“This is a unique event in Darlington and probably the biggest one of its kind across the Tees Valley. I would encourage anyone in business to take a look at what’s on offer. It’s a brilliant chance to find out more about a range of hot topics affecting many businesses today and also a great way to network with others and find out how much support there is locally and regionally.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added:

“From innovative start-ups to global companies, Darlington is home to some fantastic businesses, all with a wealth of experience to share. Whether it’s to tackle certain issues facing sectors head-on, highlighting supply chain opportunities or simply sharing success stories and experience, working together is key. That’s why I’d urge any and all businesses in the borough to come along and get involved in this great week.”

A run-down of events is as follows:

Monday 7 October

Hot Topics @ Business Central.
A series of short talks and events covering a range of topics including mental health awareness, making tax digital, marketing, social enterprise, and HR.

11.00am – 11.30am: The importance of good HR & upcoming legislation update
An update of HR legislation and the importance of having strong contracts in place and your rights as an employer. Book here

11.30am – 12.00pm: Mental health and wellbeing at work
Delegates will explore the importance of mental health in the context of wider workplace wellbeing and learn how the right mental health strategies and tactics can deliver improved business performance.
Discover key tips to improve their mental health and the mental health of their colleagues. Book here

12.45pm – 1.15pm: Boosting sales in your business
Go Limitless will run through the ways in which to utilise your marketing assets more effectively, in particular through developing your presence online. Book here

1.15pm – 1.45pm: Working your network – How to make the most of

This session will provide advice and information on how to network effectively and make new contacts. Book here

2pm – 2.30pm: Introduction of ISO 45001, and Impacts of Supply Chain

Session on CHAS, Safe Contractor, or other SSIP Accreditation (Safety Scheme In Procurement). What they are, what you need to know and how to improve and refine your Supply Chain process. Book here

2.30pm – 3pm: Trade Fairly, Trade Successfully
Understand how Trading Standards can help your business be compliant and competitive. Book here

3.15pm – 3.45pm: Making Tax Digital – what you need to know
This interesting and informative Hot Topics Session delivered by Ian Jarvis, Director at Clive Owen LLP, will give an overview of the current position regarding Making Tax Digital. Book here

3.45pm – 4.15pm: The value of R&D tax credits and what you need to know!
An overview of the real value of Research and Development (R&D) tax relief, what you can claim for and what HMRC expect to see as part of the
claim. Book here

4.30pm – 5pm: So you want to be a Social Entrepreneur?
An informative session on setting up a Social Enterprise. Book here

Darlington Economy Update and Event launch – 8.30-10.30am, Teesside University National Horizons Centre.
This event kicks starts Darlington Business Week with key note speaker, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen who will be giving an overview of the Tees
Valley economy and DBC’s Mark Ladyman talking about developments in Darlington. Book here

Using Social Media in the workplace – 11.30am-2pm, Darlington Rugby Club.
Anthony Willis, employment solicitor at BHP Law will give an overview of what you should include in your company’s social media policy and the legal implications of not having one. The Social Gene will share their top tips on the do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette for business owners.

Registration from 11.30am with coffee. The seminar is due to start at midday followed by a buffet lunch at 1pm with the opportunity to ask questions and network. Book here

Tuesday 8 October

Fraud and scam awareness around digital safety, 10am-noon, Barclays Bank, High Row.

Workshop highlighting frauds and scams aimed at businesses, how to spot them and what to do if you get caught out. The event will include a live hack demonstration and is supported by the The North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit. Book here

Chamber Exchange, 11am-2pm, Rockliffe Hall.
The Chamber’s flagship networking event encouraging an exchange of experiences, ideas and offers between members. Book here

Wednesday 9 October

Upscale your Business, 8-10.30am, Darlington College.
Helping local businesses understand how they can develop and upskill their workforce and grow internationally. This is a joint event with Department for international trade and will have companies in attendance that can support with funding, grants and sustainable transport initiatives. Book here

Practical Digital Marketing Solutions, 10am-1.30pm, Mowden Park Rugby Club.
A practical seminar covering video content, written content and email marketing resulting in a template to deliver regular and successful digital marketing.

DigitalCity showcase, 1-4pm, Teesside University Centre for Professional Executive Development, Darlington.
Showcasing the support that DigitalCity offers digital/tech businesses and companies in the wider sectors via digital transformation activities. To book email Michelle Tanner on

Thursday 10 October

Business Planning Workshop, 10am – 3pm, Business Central
An entry-level workshop for people that are considering entering self-employment. Includes business planning & market research. To book a place email

Darlington Social Media café, noon-1.30pm, Business Central
Learn more about the latest social media tools, applications and platforms and ask the experts in an informal setting. Book here

Navigating the NEPO Portal, 9am – 5pm, Town Hall, Feethams
The Navigating the NEPO Portal sessions will provide participants with:
• Greater confidence in using the Portal.
• An understanding of the Quick Quotes system and which local authorities use it.
• How to find the Contracts Register, download it and search it for information.
• Step by step guidance covering a range of Portal tasks such as registering your account, submitting a quotation or tender, participating in eAuctions, and more.
• An informal setting in which to ask specific questions relevant to your own needs.
• The opportunity to give NEPO feedback so that we can improve the user-experience for others. Book here

Friday 11 October

Business Start up finance workshop – TEDCO, 9.30am – 12.30pm, Business Central
The Finance workshop will cover sales and expenditure, financial planning and forecasting, break even, how to finance your new business, funding options and information needed to progress a funding application. To book a place email

Sales and marketing workshop – TEDCO, 1pm – 4.30am, Business Central
An interactive workshop that covers basic sales & marketing techniques, offering great hints & tips that you can use in your business. The session will help you market your business and plan for future growth, teach you how to reach your target customers and how to increase sales and networking. To book a place email

Business Exchange with Professor Ian Pearson, 7.30-9.15am, Centre for Professional and Executive Development.
This popular business breakfast event will feature futurologist Dr Ian Pearson. Ian has over 1800 inventions to his name, including text messaging and the active contact lens, and more recently a number of inventions in transport technology, including driverless transport and space travel. He has written eight books and made well over 750 TV and radio appearances.

A Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and the World Innovation Foundation, Ian identifies and explains the key changes ahead in every sector of business and society that will arise as a result of rapidly changing technology – without the use of jargon!

Optional: delegates are invited to an exclusive tour of the new National Horizons Centre following this event (numbers strictly limited). Book here

Bid Writing & Social Value Masterclass, 9am – 4pm, The Forum, Borough Road
This interactive session will share with you proven approaches and techniques, and help you think like a professional bid writer, including:
• Getting right inside the requirement and ‘what they want’
• Understanding “Why us” and how to use that to make your bid stand out
• Successfully navigating The Selection Questionnaire and PQQs
• Key types of questions and how to approach them
• Understanding the client
• Managing word counts and deciding what to include
• Obtaining and using feedback
• Managing your contracts to maximise success
Book here

Business support and advice is available throughout the year from the council’s Business Investment team. Call 01325 406305 or email

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