(Left) Paul McEldon, CEO at the North East Business and Innovation Centre, (centre) Cllr Heather Scott, leader of the council , (right) and Ian Williams, chief executive of the council.
Austen Shakespeare

£8m North East innovation centre aims to support regional SMEs

Construction has started on a Darlington innovation centre that will provide office space as well as “job creation” and “economic growth”.

Darlington Borough Council secured funding for the four-storey site with £4.7m from the European Regional Development Fund, £2.8m from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, £480k from the government’s Getting Building fund, along with £60k council funding.

Construction work by contractors Willmott Dixon is due to be complete in August 2022.

The building will be operated by North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) which runs the existing Business Central office space on Central Park.

Council leader Heather Scott said: “We have begun the exciting work of creating a modern and flexible workplace which will help businesses collaborate, innovate and grow.

“Our investment into this centre will increase opportunities for local businesses, create quality jobs and generate the momentum needed to help the local economy bounce back from the impacts of this pandemic.

“It is a chance for Darlington to focus on entrepreneurship and business growth, and the centre is a fantastic opportunity for new and existing businesses looking for the combination of lab and office space which will sit well alongside the existing CPI Biologics and Teesside University Horizons buildings.”

Paul McEldon, CEO at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting project and together with the council and all the partners, we’re committed to developing a centre that will not only accommodate and support businesses but drive growth through innovation.

“Since 1994, the BIC has helped to create over 7,000 jobs across the North East region. As the operator for Innovation Central we will continue to build on this achievement and support the development of many more businesses and jobs in Darlington.”

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