Just weeks after the launch of the newly branded several companies from across County Durham have already booked up for this year’s Incubator Zone, following the massive success of last year’s inaugural programme.

The companies include Bishop Auckland-based family-owned precision engineering firm Body Engineering; award-winning business coach Gil Devlin from Consett, who works with businesses to help them get the most from their workforce and maximise growth; and training and business support company NCG Solutions from Crook, which specifically works with companies from the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Also signed up are Newton Aycliffe-based manufacturer Accurate Labelling Systems and Durham-based business solution company System 88.

Many other companies from around the county have also made enquiries with a view to booking their place within the coming weeks.

Paul Body is owner of Body Engineering, which he runs with his son David. He said: “We are very keen to raise our profile within the engineering sector and target potential new customers as part of our long-term plans for growth.

“We’d heard some excellent things about last year’s Incubator Zone and felt this was the ideal platform for us to put ourselves on the radars of those companies we’re keen to engage with.”

This is the second year that the Incubator Zone, which is delivered through Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) team in partnership with LEC Communications and Design and with European Regional Development Fund funding, has been held.

Last year 21 companies from the area exhibited at EMCON and to date, contracts worth more than £200,000 have been won.

One of them is Shred Direct from Peterlee. Owner Graeme Carter said: “We made some excellent contacts and have already completed work with engineering company Hiatco to shred a lot of their confidential paperwork.”

The Incubator Zone programme enabled new and growing companies, or those who had little or no exhibition experience, to showcase themselves to an EMCON audience of over 1,000 people.

The criteria to exhibit within the Incubator Zone is that the companies must:

  • Be based in County Durham
  • Have proven links to the manufacturing and engineering sectors
  • Be actively looking to grow
  • Have never exhibited at EMCON before


EMCON is organised by the Engineering and Manufacturing Network. Operations Director Ben Gilhespy said: “The Incubator Zone was a huge draw last year and already the level of interest we’ve seen is huge. Word has certainly spread among the engineering and manufacturing communities that this is the ideal opportunity for firms to meet potential new suppliers and ultimately, win work.”

Sarah Slaven, Business Development Director at Business Durham who manage the Durham Business Opportunites Programme said: “The Incubator Zone is a great opportuity for companies who haven’t previously gone to EMCON to get involved with this key event in the Engineering and Manufaturing calendar.  We’d urge any businesses that fit the criteria to get in touch now as there are already around 10 companies that have either booked or are considering it, which means places will quickly become limited.”

EMCON returns to the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Thursday, October 18. For updates, or to book as an exhibitor, visit emcon.show.

Stadler Rail UK is this year’s headline sponsor with Business Durham returning as gold sponsor and Jackson Hogg the delivery partner.

*** EMCON stands for the Engineering and Manufacturing Convention, however the event will be known as EMCON. ***