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Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups

Helping launch successful new businesses in County Durham

DABS is an ERDF-funded programme that helps high-quality start-ups in County Durham start trading and offers premium quality support to those who have started up in business in the last 12 months.

DABS Programme Register your interest
 

If you are in the County Durham area and you are thinking about starting up in business or have started in the last 12 months, the DABS Programme can offer eligible businesses expert-led workshops, group sessions, monthly networking events and one-to-one support and mentoring.

Joining the Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups (DABS) programme will enable you to:

  • Turn your business idea into a real blueprint you can action
  • Build a successful business
  • Boost your profits
  • Expand and use business network
  • Have access to business specialists with a wealth of knowledge and experience
  • Meet like-minded individuals and get encouragement from your network
  • Access the jobs grant fund available to those on the DABS Programme

Since the launch of the programme in early 2020, we have helped hundreds of people through the early stages of running a business.

DABS Participants

Support includes:

  • Full business start-up programme

    Full business start-up programme

    Including tailored facilitated and expert-led workshops and group sessions.
  • 1-2-1 support and mentoring

    1-2-1 support and mentoring

    Bespoke support with an experienced business advisor.
  • Connect with like-minded new entrepreneurs

    Connect with like-minded new entrepreneurs

    To aid collaboration and support across County Durham.
  • Insights from sector experts and contacts

    Insights from sector experts and contacts

    To build your network across the North East region.
  • Guidance on new opportunities

    Guidance on new opportunities

    To help you seize market advantage in your new start-up.

Testimonials

  • Jeni Smith

    “The DABS programme has been fantastic, working independently from the comfort of my own home during lockdown has been invaluable.”

    “I’ve had access to a great source of support and being able to get feedback on ideas, have someone to hold me accountable when needed, and the access to courses and information has just been amazing.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • Mark Wong-Jan 2021 (1) (1)

    “I heard about DABS through an e-news piece on entrepreneurs and got in touch to see what help I could get from them. I have absolutely no business background and founds DABS offered good programmes, online training and network events.”

    “I particularly like these events because everyone is very helpful and generous in sharing their experiences – what worked for them and what didn’t.”

    Mark Wong, Impossibrew
  • Clare from Aniseed

    “I have met so many lovely people through the DABS programme. As a freelancer working on my own, it has given me colleagues that I can call on for advice, as we have access to one-to-one mentoring.”

    Clare Lavelle, Aniseed Creative
  • Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups

    “Thank you for organising such an insightful Master Class. I definitely enjoyed it and have signed up for all the rest of the Master Classes over the next six weeks. It is so refreshing to see an organisation so passionate about helping entrepreneurs!”

    Mikali Sapani
  • Jeni Smith

    “I’d recommend any eligible business takes advantage of this fantastic programme – you literally have nothing to lose and so much to gain!”

    “It’s helped me define my ideas, create new opportunities, and focus on my future plans for business growth.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • cropped-dabs-rocket.png

    “It’s fantastic that DABS helps grow entrepreneurs with ethics, sustainability, and SDGs in mind! While reading about it helps me ponder ethics, talking with others and being in a community of like-minded people works best. It was a pleasure being with everyone this morning. Thank you!”

    Marieshka Barton
  • Clare from Aniseed

    “When you’re starting up, you’re juggling a lot, wearing so many hats and it was overwhelming in the early days. The support I’ve received from DABS, being able to ask about anything I don’t know, has been keeping me on the right path.”

    Clare Lavelle, Aniseed Creative
  • Jeni Smith

    “I’ve had access to a great source of support and being able to get feedback on ideas, have someone to hold me accountable when needed, and the access to courses and information has just been amazing.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho

Which stage are you at with your business?

Pre-start

Pre-start

  • Budding entrepreneurs with an exciting business idea or opportunity.
  • Must be based in County Durham.
  • Those who want premium and dedicated support to develop their idea into a commercially-viable product or service.

Start your business

Early stage

Early stage

  • Businesses that have been registered for less than 12 months.
  • Must be based in County Durham.
  • For those who want expert help to re-innovate their business model into a fully-scaleable opportunity.

Grow your business

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Testimonials

  • Jeni Smith

    “The DABS programme has been fantastic, working independently from the comfort of my own home during lockdown has been invaluable.”

    “I’ve had access to a great source of support and being able to get feedback on ideas, have someone to hold me accountable when needed, and the access to courses and information has just been amazing.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • Mark Wong-Jan 2021 (1) (1)

    “I heard about DABS through an e-news piece on entrepreneurs and got in touch to see what help I could get from them. I have absolutely no business background and founds DABS offered good programmes, online training and network events.”

    “I particularly like these events because everyone is very helpful and generous in sharing their experiences – what worked for them and what didn’t.”

    Mark Wong, Impossibrew
  • Clare from Aniseed

    “I have met so many lovely people through the DABS programme. As a freelancer working on my own, it has given me colleagues that I can call on for advice, as we have access to one-to-one mentoring.”

    Clare Lavelle, Aniseed Creative
  • Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups

    “Thank you for organising such an insightful Master Class. I definitely enjoyed it and have signed up for all the rest of the Master Classes over the next six weeks. It is so refreshing to see an organisation so passionate about helping entrepreneurs!”

    Mikali Sapani
  • Jeni Smith

    “I’d recommend any eligible business takes advantage of this fantastic programme – you literally have nothing to lose and so much to gain!”

    “It’s helped me define my ideas, create new opportunities, and focus on my future plans for business growth.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho
  • cropped-dabs-rocket.png

    “It’s fantastic that DABS helps grow entrepreneurs with ethics, sustainability, and SDGs in mind! While reading about it helps me ponder ethics, talking with others and being in a community of like-minded people works best. It was a pleasure being with everyone this morning. Thank you!”

    Marieshka Barton
  • Clare from Aniseed

    “When you’re starting up, you’re juggling a lot, wearing so many hats and it was overwhelming in the early days. The support I’ve received from DABS, being able to ask about anything I don’t know, has been keeping me on the right path.”

    Clare Lavelle, Aniseed Creative
  • Jeni Smith

    “I’ve had access to a great source of support and being able to get feedback on ideas, have someone to hold me accountable when needed, and the access to courses and information has just been amazing.”

    Jeni Smith, Networking Knowho