A FREE business event is being held in Middlesbrough to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access expert support through short, one-to-one sessions.

Hosted by Middlesbrough Council and the Federation of Small Businesses, it’s a unique opportunity to access financial advice, learn how to develop new ideas and products, boost leadership skills, recruit, export and build networks.

Packaged into a time-efficient morning session, the Business Growth Surgery will give businesses the chance to book appointments with a host of leading business experts.

Partners include: Middlesbrough Council, Tees Valley Business Compass, Materials Processing Institute, TEDCO, Teesside University lead partner of Innovate Tees Valley, DIT, FW Capital and UK Steel Enterprise.

The event aims to help new and established businesses with the right level of ambition, capability and capacity to improve and grow. It also seeks to raise awareness of the run-up to Small Business Saturday UK a campaign, which highlights small business success locally and which is taking place on Saturday, December 3.

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “We have a great business community with real entrepreneurial spirit, but the right insight and advice can still help enterprises develop and move on to the next level.

“We recognise that business owners are busy and as a result we have created this morning surgery so they are able to book one-to-one appointments with a variety of experts all in one place.”

Surgery appointments are available with the following organisations:


Materials Processing Institute (MPI) helps small and medium sized businesses develop, commercialise and improve technology with a range of technical and financial support.  Specialising in challenging processes, particularly those involving high temperatures, hostile environments and high specification materials. The Institute is also part of the ERDF Innovate Tees Valley Project lead by Teesside University. The local representative on the day will be Dawn Huntrod.


TEDCO Business Support helps new businesses to start up and grow through intensive support including business planning, accessing finance and making those all-important contacts. TEDCO is the North East delivery partner of Virgin Start Up, offering low cost loans and expert mentoring. The representative on the day will be Mark Johnston.

Tees Valley Business Compass helps ambitious businesses realise their growth potential by providing relevant and up to date economic information, advice and support, supply chain development, funding and investment for training, upskilling and expansion plans. Local representatives on the day will be Gillian Baker and David Dixon

Innovate Tees Valley is the Tees Valley’s first super network, established to help our ambitious business community to access funded support to achieve growth through product and service innovation. Innovate Tees Valley is led by Teesside University and is a collaboration of four partners: the University, Digital City, NEPIC and the Materials Processing Institute. The local representative on the day will be Jenny Hudson (Teesside University) and Joanne Rout (NEPIC).

UK Steel Enterprise provides funding to start-up and growing businesses under its Regeneration Fund for loans up to £3,500. Further debt and debt/equity packages are available from £25,000 to £1,000,000 for growing businesses. The local representative on the day will be Sarah Thorpe.

Department for International Trade (formerly known as UK Trade & Investment) helps UK based companies export their products and services overseas. Working across the UK and in more than 100 countries they have a unique ability to support and UK companies at home and abroad as well as encouraging overseas-based companies to invest in the UK. The local representatives on the day will be Chris Simpson and Maria Dotsch.

FW Capital is a fund management company, making commercial investments in established businesses across the North East with strong growth potential. They offer debt, mezzanine and equity investments from the North East Growth Plus Fund and also short-term loans to fund performance, warranty bonds and advance payment guarantees from the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund. All investment packages are bespoke and tailored to fit the needs of a business. The local representative on the day will be Allison Routledge.

The Business Growth Surgery takes place from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday, December 1 at Boho One, Bridge St West, Middlesbrough TS2 1AE.

  • To book a 30-minute one-to-one appointment email bizgrowthsurgery@icloud.com or telephone 01642 224706 and indicate which organisation you wish to meet with. Businesses can book to meet with more than one support organisation.