County Durham new starts, micro firms and growing SMEs are being given a unique chance to be part of this year’s Oktoberfest.

As part of plans to encourage smaller companies to be part of the event, there will be a dedicated Incubator Zone for those companies who have never before exhibited.

The criteria is that the companies must:

  • Be based in County Durham
  • Employ around 10 people or fewer
  • Have proven links to the manufacturing and engineering sectors
  • Actively looking to grow
  • Need help developing networking and exhibiting skills

Organisers of the annual Oktoberfest event have teamed up with Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) to offer companies a mini exhibitor package which they hope will open the expo up to those companies who don’t have marketing budgets.

The package will mean they can have a presence within the show, with support provided to help prepare them for the exhibition and marketing materials such as banner stands and flyers designed and printed if they need them.

Peterlee-based LEC Communications and Design is delivering the Incubator Zone project after a competitive tender process through Durham County Council.

David Land, Chairman of the County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN), which organises Oktoberfest, said: “We’re always looking to strengthen our offering to businesses and make our event appealing to them regardless of their size.

“Reviewing feedback and exhibitor statistics from the last few years, it was evident we could be doing more to appeal to those firms that are relatively new start ups, who perhaps want to raise their profile and meet potential new clients.

“We are aware that our existing offer could be quite daunting to businesses that fall into that category, so we have created an Incubator Zone within the main hall which is specifically designed for those firms that have never exhibited at Oktoberfest before.”

Businesses must be able to demonstrate a link to the engineering and manufacturing sectors, whether that’s through the products they make or services they supply, or that their current client base includes employers within these sectors.

Businesses across County Durham who meet the criteria can book a space, with an initial 15 stands available within the Incubator Zone.

To enquire, please visit the Incubator Zone page.