A number of companies which participated in the first Incubator Zone at this year's Durham Oktoberfest have secured new contracts and are following up dozens of promising leads.
Twenty-one businesses from across County Durham exhibited as part of a Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) project, which was created to engage companies which had not been involved with the event previously.
Undertaken in partnership with LEC Communications and Design, and with European Regional Development Fund funding, the initiative allowed for new and growing companies, or those who had little or no exhibition experience, to showcase their products and services to an audience of almost 1,000.
Lee White, owner of Bespoke Electrical, a mechanical and electrical engineering company based in Newton Aycliffe, said:
"We did so well at Oktoberfest. In fact, we have already started delivering a three-month consultancy contract on a furnace smelting project heading to Europe early February 2018 which we secured at the event.
"In addition, we have costed for a further two projects which we’re waiting to hear back about."
Each Incubator Zone exhibitor was given intensive support to prepare them for the event, as well as marketing materials such as flyers, banner stands and business cards.
Ben Gilhespy, operations director at County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network, which organises Oktoberfest, said:
"Without a doubt the Incubator Zone was one of the highlights of this year’s event. The main objectives of the project were that companies walked away with strong business leads which could generate work and that they got enough from exhibiting to entice them back as a fully-fledged exhibitor next year.