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North East creates innovative ‘virtual' regional science park

Date 9 May 2007
Author The Editor

County Durham is pushing back the boundaries by creating a ‘virtual' science and technology park to drive productivity and innovation in businesses across the region. County Durham Development Company (CDDC) aims to help the North East's companies to flourish by opening up the services available at NETPark, one of the fastest growing science parks in the UK, via an online network.

Stewart Watkins, CDDC managing director, said: "We are creating a ‘NETPark without walls' which will bring the world-class services on offer at NETPark companies throughout County Durham and across the North East at the click of a mouse. This will be done in several phases with the service initially starting as a Virtual Office facility providing a postal address, email address and phone number. We shall then start introducing other services that are available at NETPark, such as clinics, assistance in sourcing finance, and signposting to business opportunities, and the world-class research at the five North East universities."

NETPark builds on experiences learned from Durham, North Carolina, USA, an area with a similar economic background to the North East, which invested in the Research Triangle Park. The RTP dramatically improved the state's economic performance and for every 100 employees on the park, 360 additional jobs were created in other sectors of the economy. 'NETPark without walls' is expected to accelerate this kind of success for companies throughout the North East.

The development of the new service is jointly funded by Durham County Council through CDDC, and by One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership.

Ian Williams, Acting Director of Business and Industry at One NorthEast, commented: "This is another exciting development at NETPark that will benefit the region. Developing ‘E-services' such as this is a high priority for government, and virtual incubation is a way of ensuring that businesses and communities across the County and the Region can benefit from the investment at NETPark."

For more information about the virtual incubation service now available at NETPark please visit

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