Darlington’s annual Business Summit is set to launch a whole week of events aimed at supporting and developing businesses in the borough. The free event will set the scene for the second Darlington Business Week and will also play host to workshops to develop how 7,000 new jobs will be created in the borough over the next seven years.

Taking place from Monday 8 until Friday 12 October, Darlington Business Week will give local businesses, from start-ups to established companies, the chance to play an important part in Darlington’s economic future as well as attend free events and workshops across five days.

The Business Summit on Monday 8 October will take place at Teesside University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development in Darlington from 8am until 10am. Local business leaders and business owners are welcome to sign up for the launch event to find out how Darlington is planning for the future with an update on the economic strategy and the Local Plan. This will focus on infrastructure improvements, current trends and key employment and business sites in the area.

The second part of the Summit will see Dr Rebecca Riley from Birmingham University working with businesses at the event to develop plans and ideas to help increase the number and range of business and professional services located in the borough.  Dr Riley’s research is part of a wider brief from central government body, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to create demand outside of London in this sector.

Those attending will be invited to feed into this research by giving their ideas on how to encourage further growth in the professional and business services sector such as accountancy, legal and financial services.  Workshops will also focus on opportunities offered by Darlington’s excellent transport links and its skills base.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration, said:

“This summit will bring together the business brains of the borough to find out how we are doing and the exciting plans we have for the future. In addition, through working with Dr Riley, they will have the chance to help create even more opportunities in a potential growth area for Darlington.

“I urge all business leaders, owners and anyone with an interest in business in Darlington, to come along to the summit and to attend as many events as possible throughout the week. They are free and will help to unlock the vast potential for growth that this perfectly placed borough has.”

Other events throughout the week include networking sessions with North East Chamber of Commerce and Darlington Business Club, doing business with the public sector, A Nerf Wars networking session, a finance and grants for growth event, a Tees engineering networking and a litter pick, pie and pint to round the week off.

For more information about Darlington Business Week, and to sign up for events, visit http://www.investindarlington.co.uk/events/