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Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups

Helping launch successful new businesses in County Durham

DABS is an ERDF-funded programme that helps high-quality start-ups in County Durham start trading and offers premium quality support to those who have started up in business in the last 12 months.

DABS Programme Register your interest

Different from many other business accelerators, the DABS programme offers two unique support packages. One for those who have a great idea and have not yet started their business, and another for those new entrepreneurs at the start of their exciting journey. Tailored support that allows us to maximise the success of your business.

Delivered by our highly experienced and knowledgeable team, we will turn any remarkable ideas into pragmatic and commercially-viable businesses. Let’s ‘DABS’ it together!

The DABS programme aims to foster a start-up environment throughout County Durham to help new and prospective business owners support and learn from each other. Through the early stages of your new business, you will supported by like-minded people on your journey!

Find out more about the Festival of Enterprise 2021

Support includes:

  • Full business start-up programme

    Full business start-up programme

    Including tailored facilitated and expert-led workshops and group sessions.
  • 1-2-1 support and mentoring

    1-2-1 support and mentoring

    Bespoke support with an experienced business advisor.
  • Connect with like-minded new entrepreneurs

    Connect with like-minded new entrepreneurs

    To aid collaboration and support across County Durham.
  • Insights from sector experts and contacts

    Insights from sector experts and contacts

    To build your network across the North East region.
  • Guidance on new opportunities

    Guidance on new opportunities

    To help you seize market advantage in your new start-up.

Who should participate in the DABS programme?

Pre-start businesses

Pre-start businesses

  • Budding entrepreneurs with an exciting business idea or opportunity.
  • Must be based in County Durham.
  • Those who want premium and dedicated support to develop their idea into a commercially-viable product or service.

Start your business

Early stage businesses

Early stage businesses

  • Businesses that have been registered for less than 12 months.
  • Must be based in County Durham.
  • For those who want expert help to re-innovate their business model into a fully-scaleable opportunity.

Grow your business

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  • Jeni Smith

    “I’d recommend any eligible business takes advantage of this fantastic programme – you literally have nothing to lose and so much to gain!”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • Berry Education

    “The DABS process was really great, very positive, and I know that I wouldn’t have got as far in my business development without it.”

    Claire Mitchell, Berry Education
  • Jeni Smith

    “The DABS programme has been fantastic. Working independently from the comfort of my own home during lockdown has been invaluable.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • Clare from Aniseed

    “When you’re starting up, you’re juggling a lot, wearing so many hats and it was overwhelming in the early days. The support I’ve received from DABS, being able to ask about anything I don’t know, has been keeping me on the right path.”

    Clare Lavelle, Aniseed Creative
  • Jeni Smith

    “I’ve had access to a great source of support and being able to get feedback on ideas, have someone to hold me accountable when needed, and the access to courses and information has just been amazing.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • Berry Education

    “James at TEDCO signposted me to an incredible amount of useful information so I could hone in on effective business planning, generate investment and make the best use of our resources.”

    Claire Mitchell, Berry Education