Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 09.40.36A FREE business event is being held in Darlington to help SMEs access expert support.

Enterprises with fewer than 250 employees are invited to the special Business Growth Surgery at Business Central Darlington on Wednesday, September 16.

Hosted by Darlington Council 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 one-to-one appointments with a host of leading business experts.

The event – part of the Business Growth Service – aims to help businesses with the right level of ambition, capability and capacity to improve and grow.

The service forms part of the Government’s ‘Business is Great’ campaign, which brings together a broad range of expertise, to give businesses access to the right advice and support to fulfill their growth potential.

Surgery appointments are available with the following organisations:

GrowthAccelerator helps businesses achieve their growth ambitions by providing tailored coaching, masterclasses and workshops. Coaching areas include specialised investment readiness, access to finance and business development support. Grant funding is also available for leadership and management training. Local representatives on the day will be Mike Cratchley and Joan Louw.

RTC North helps businesses develop new products and take them to market. It offers support throughout the product lifecycle helping clients identify and protect intellectual property, research market potential, fund innovation and win business in the UK and overseas. Information and support is available for key projects including Enterprise Europe Network, Design Network North and Health Network North. Local representatives on the day will be Jamie Ollivere and Alison Machin.

Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has an 80+ team of Business Growth Managers across England with specific manufacturing expertise. Working with SME manufacturing organisations they help develop long-term strategies, improve processes, bring new products to market and engage with supply chains. Local representative on the day will be Jim Barr.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) 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 advise UK companies at home and abroad as well as encouraging overseas-based companies to invest in the UK. Local representatives on the day will be Chris Simpson, Maria Dotsch and John Holmes-Carrington.

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 Stephen Carey and Gillian Baker.

Teesside University’s newly branded business support service, The Forge, offers businesses a range of services including research and consultancy, training and development, talent recruitment, business facilities and access to UK and European networks. Local representatives on the day will be Jayne Cranston and Michael Gilkes.

BE Group offers a comprehensive portfolio of services to help businesses become more productive, profitable and competitive. They currently have grants available to Tees Valley based businesses through Let’s Grow North East and Tees Valley Business Compass towards capital expansion projects that create new, permanent jobs. Local representatives on the day will be Mike Baker and Simon Allen.

TEDCO Business Support Ltd is an Enterprise Agency working across the region to help people start and grow their business. They have a team of business advisors to help people get their business started through intensive one-on-one support. They specialise in progressing business ideas through the development of robust business plans and support accessing business finance. Local representative on the day will be Mark Johnston.

Shak Asghar, Business Growth and Investment Manager at Darlington Borough Council said

“We have brought together a number of organisations that provide services to help businesses grow and become more profitable into this half day event, making it perfect for business owners who are busy as they can book one-to-one appointments with a variety of experts all in one place.”

The Business Growth Surgery takes place from 9.30am to noon on Wednesday, September 16 at Business Central Darlington, 2 Union Square, Central Park, Darlington DL1 1GL.

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