THE economic development company for County Durham has been highly commended in national enterprise awards.

Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, received the Enterprising Britain Award in the Improving Business Environment category for its work in making County Durham a place where businesses can thrive.

The awards are part of the Government’s drive to support entrepreneurial activity in the UK. Managed by Investment in Young People on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the awards celebrate the work of public sector and government-backed organisations that support and encourage entrepreneurialism across the UK.

Now in their fourteenth year, they are given in four categories. This year’s other winners include North Tyneside Council in the “Start-Up Spirit” category.

Small Business Minister Margot James said: “The Enterprising Britain Awards are a fantastic reminder of what can be achieved when we bring together local knowledge and leadership to provide targeted support to entrepreneurs and the innovative businesses they build.”

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director of Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted our work delivering the environment for business growth in the county has received a highly commended award.  It reflects all the dedication of the team here at Business Durham.”

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We’re thrilled Business Durham has been given this much-deserved award, in recognition of the fantastic work it does throughout the county.

“Since we first founded Business Durham, the organisation has gone from strength to strength and perhaps more importantly, so have the many entrepreneurial businesses that have taken root in Durham. We’ve also become pioneers in economic regeneration, with the establishment of a £20m Durham Finance Fund to support regional businesses as they scale up and employ more people right here in County Durham.”

Members of the Business Durham will head to London in November for the awards presentation.