AN organisation which works with pre-start and new SMEs across East Durham has strengthened its team as it begins to roll out the expanded package of support it offers businesses.

East Durham Business Service has recruited Hina Joshi into the role of business advisor to work with budding entrepreneurs who want to pursue self employment and newly created companies which are looking to get their venture off the ground.

And as part of the expanded business support programme now offered, Hina will also work with growing SMEs which are looking to implement the next phase of their growth plan.

Hina, who lives in Sunderland, has worked as a business advisor in the North East for over 17 years including a year spent with East Durham Business Service from July 2012 to March last year.

She said: “I am delighted to re-join the team and am really looking forward to working with pre-start, new and growing businesses in the area to help them turn their business ambitions into reality.

“There are a lot of people out there with great ideas but don’t know how to get them off the ground, so I’ll be working with them to give them the support they need to do that.

“And now, because of the expansion of our support programme, I’ll also be able to work with established businesses which are looking to take their plans to the next level. This is so important, not only to their long term future but also for the boost it will give the area’s entrepreneurial culture; success breeds success and SMEs have just as important a role to play in East Durham’s future growth as those larger, more established businesses.”

East Durham Business Service is based at the Novus Centre on the North West Industrial Estate in Peterlee and also occupies the Novus Centre 2 at Spectrum Business Park in Seaham.

Last year the organisation underwent a major restructure which saw it review all elements of its business support programme and go back to the drawing board to ensure it was in the best position possible to help local entrepreneurs and businesses.

Denise Fielding, Operations Director, said: “Last year our focus was very much on the restructure of the organisation and identifying what we were doing well and what we felt we should be doing more of.

“This year the aim is to raise our profile so businesses know we’re here and are aware of what we can do for them. To complement that we’ve expanded the range of support we offer so we’re now able to work with growing companies as well as pre-start and new SMEs, and appointed Hina as business advisor. She was an invaluable member of our team when she was here before so when the opportunity came up to bring her back on board, we took it.”