Having spent over 30 years encouraging and supporting local people to think about, plan and start their own businesses, SDEA are a recognised community access point for start up services and support. From finance to planning, marketing to tax, SDEA can help local people think about enterprise in a new light, providing skills, support and expertise to move people into new business creation.

Promoting an entrepreneurial spirit within local communities provides an opportunity to change the culture of the region from the bottom up. Working in and with schools, community groups and with other local partners SDEA provides services to change the perception of entrepreneurialism within the local community. Helping young people access and consider entrepreneurial activity, encouraging community groups to consider how services can be delivered with social value at heart and giving local people the confidence to think differently about their own skills is central to the work of the Agency.

Delivering and supporting the local SME community to grow and develop is also central to SDEA’s aims and objectives. Helping businesses change, adapt and challenge themselves to be better is written into SDEA’s support themes.

Working towards the outlined aims and objectives, SDEA have a number of local projects that focus on enterprise, entrepreneurialism and economic development:

Durham Food and Drink Network

The Durham Food and Drink Network is a partnership project, delivered in County Durham, designed to help small producers of local food address their business support needs. Commissioned by Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), and funded by the European Regional Development Fund the project will seek to support producers of local food access new markets, improve their business and establish County Durham produced food as an important asset for the County.

The support is delivered across the County by South Durham Enterprise Agency, East Durham Business Services and CDC Enterprise Agency.

Helping business access one to one support to address common challenges and opportunities the programme has access to a range of experienced advisors able to assist businesses with their support needs.

The programme has an active and vibrant calendar of events, suitable for food producers and aimed at establishing new distribution channels or gaining new skills.

With a dedicated digital resource to help small businesses access information on the go, the Durham Food and Drink Network has a host of resources designed to help businesses build their knowledge.

The Durham Food and Drink Network has access to a range of additional support provision from the likes of Durham Sparks, Digital Drive, Business Durham, Boost Your Business and a host more, enabling effective signposting to additional of specialised support where required.

The Durham Food and Drink Network can be accessed by contacting SDEA (details at the foot of this page)

South Durham Enterprise Agency also deliver the following programmes:

  • Gaunless Gateway Big Local – Locally Trusted Organisation
  • Online Teesdale
  • Why Can’t You
  • SDEA Rural Support
  • North Pennine Dales Leader


Contact South Durham Enterprise Agency