Welcoming Orbit enterprise zone to NETPark

06 Oct 2021

A new £1.4m enterprise zone providing bespoke support to technology and science-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has opened. 

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The enterprise zone named Orbit, which is run by Durham University, is now inviting SMEs in the North East to sign up and use the space at NETPark, Sedgefield — the home of CPI’s formulation and photonics facilities.

Businesses who become members of Orbit will benefit from targeted guidance and support from Durham University’s researchers, Business Durham and CPI.

Members will have access to one of the 13 flexible, private or collaborative office spaces as well as being able to be a part of networking events and skills workshops. 

Sophie Walton, Director of Strategic Partnerships at CPI, explained: The North East has a thriving science industry sector that is globally competitive, vibrant and viable. We are delighted to be supporting this initiative from Durham University. 

Collaboration is at the heart of CPI’s strategy as we continue to serve multiple established and emerging industries. Having this new enterprise zone will build upon NETPark’s capability and to help the region transfer its research ideas into new products, helping to create jobs and supporting the regional economy.” 

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director Business Durham, said: Orbit is a fantastic addition to NETPark and we look forward to seeing many more spin-out businesses coming out of the University and following in the foot-steps of businesses such as Kromek who have gone on to enjoy huge global success. It is vitally important that we invest in providing the right infrastructure, support and academic expertise to encourage innovation in the county. 

Alongside our strategic partners Durham University and CPI, NETPark provides the right ecosystem to support businesses throughout their lifecycle from concept to commercialisation. Orbit is a welcome addition to NETPark that will help us widen those opportunities to businesses and maximise commercial opportunities with Durham University.” 

Jenny Taylor, Head of Economic Development at Durham University, said: We are really pleased to be leading this fantastic opportunity for businesses in the North East to collaborate and engage with Durham University. 

Orbit will enable us to support regional economic development by maximising opportunities for local business growth. Businesses can sign up for a private office, hot desk or virtual membership on flexible terms. Now that Orbit is open, we are encouraging business to get in touch and see how we can support them to grow through tailored business development support. 

I would like to thank all of the agencies who worked with us to repurpose and refurbish part of our research institute at NETPark and create Orbit. It is a beautiful space that provides a welcoming environment for business and academia to work together.”

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