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Starting a business

Darlington Council's Business Support Team do not provide a dedicated start-up service.

However, the team works in partnership with TEDCO Business Support Ltd [external link] to provide a range of business start-up services, as outlined below:

New Enterprise Allowance

Unemployed residents of Darlington who are considering becoming self-employed can access the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme provided by TEDCO. Participants will get access to a business mentor who will provide guidance and support as they develop their business plan and through the early months of trading. Once a participant has had their business plan approved, ended their benefit claim and started trading, they will be able to access financial support. This will consist of:

  • A weekly allowance worth £1,274 over 26 weeks, paid at £65 a week for the first 13 weeks and £33 a week for a further 13 weeks
  • The facility to access a loan of up to £2,500 to help with start-up costs, subject to status

To access the NEA scheme, you need to be aged 18 or over and currently receiving Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance.

For further details, contact Judith Wheatley by email - or call 07795 433366. You can get more information on New Enterprise Allowance on the Government Website [external link]. To book an NEA appointment, please speak to your Jobcentre Plus advisor.

Ready for Business

Start and Grow

The Start & Grow programme is an initiative designed to provide pre and post start support to individuals looking to develop businesses that meet the following criteria:

  • Sustainable growth
  • Offer employment
  • Require early-stage finance

For anyone thinking of starting a business, the Start and Grow programme can help improve the chances of success, with support and advice during the start-up and early growth stages of the business. The support offered will help you to build a comprehensive business plan fit for raising investment capital, develop advanced skills in business management and introduce you to lenders, including successful pitching advice and techniques. TEDCO is a not-for-profit organisation with 30 years of experience in assisting businesses start, grow and succeed in the North East. TEDCO don’t have any funding themselves, so they have no conflict of interest, and are completely impartial. Those businesses that fit the Start and Grow criteria benefit from the following support:

  • An introductory discussion by telephone
  • One to one personalised consultation with a business advisor
  • Business plan development
  • Business training
  • Investment readiness support
  • Referral to lending organisations
  • Support to pitch to lenders
  • On-going support after business start-up for a 3 year period

The Start and Grow programme is provided by TEDCO on behalf of the Cavendish Consortium and their partners. The programme is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via the Regional Growth Fund initiative.

For further details, please contact Mark Johnston - or call 07885 801376

TEDCO website [external link]

Start-up loans

TEDCO also provide the Virgin Startup Loan locally. Virgin StartUp has been created to help entrepreneurs take a significant step towards becoming their own boss. They do this through offering a Start Up Loan that gives funding from £500 – £25,000 to help people with great ideas turn them into brilliant businesses.

Start Up Loans are available to businesses yet to launch or those that have been trading for up to 12 months, although in certain circumstances this may be extended to 24 months.

If you are interested in the Virgin Start Up process please contact TEDCO on 0191 5166102 or visit Virgin StartUp [External link] to find out more.

Free self-employment seminars

TEDCO provide regular, free self-employment seminars. The seminar will give you the tools you need to take your idea from the drawing board to the real world. You’ll get expert advice, help and encouragement in areas such as: writing a good business plan, sourcing finance, managing cash flow, meeting your legal obligations, taxation and VAT, marketing and finding the right banking solutions.

For more information and to book a place on a seminar please visit TEDCO Support Limited [External link] or call 0191 5166102.

Princes Trust ‘Exploring Enterprise’ Courses

The ‘Exploring Enterprise’ courses run by the Princes Trust are designed for young people aged 18 – 30 who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week. The 4 day course covers topics relevant to planning and running a business, to help people decide whether self-employment is right for them.

Young people also receive progression mentoring, and grants are available to help people test their ideas.

For more information please contact Claire Bland, Programme Executive Enterprise and Awards, Tel 01642 201000 - ext 3582 /

More information if you're looking to start a business

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