Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Durham Business Group in 2011

History of Durham Business Group

Back to 1981

Durham Small Business Club, as it was then, began life nearly 40 years ago, back in 1981.

It was set up by a very enterprising chap called Tom Moffat, whose aim was to get local County Durham businesses together to support each other and, where necessary, to lobby local and central government on issues affecting business.

Founding principles

Being the kind of guy he is, Tom was determined that the Business Club would be completely independent and not reliant on grant funding.

By 1983, the club had became an incorporated company with a Board of Directors, and had started to operate a small training company specialising in what was a predecessor to current apprenticeship programmes.

Running a small business as part of the Business Club not only meant that we could better empathise with the challenges and needs of our members, but also that profits could be invested back into the club. This allowed us to employ staff to run the Club and its events, and to subsidise the membership subscription, ensuring that it was maintained at an affordable and accessible level.

Growth and change

Like any good business, we have had to adapt to the changing landscape around us.

In 2010, we adopted our current business structure in order to give our own business ventures more visibility. Our company name became Durham Business Group, made up initially of Durham Business Club – always our core reason for being – and the training business.

In 2011, we launched Durham Office Services from our new base at Portland House in the city of Durham, and also celebrated our 30th anniversary with a black-tie awards dinner at the beautiful Beamish Hall.

In 2013, we took the opportunity to sell our training business to another local operator, and the following year created The Executive Group as a premium level of membership for our growing number of larger, corporate members.

Now and the future

Having celebrated our 35th anniversary in 2016, Durham Business Group continues to flourish, and Durham Business Club remains one of the most popular and respected business organisations in the North East region.

This is in no small way because of what Tom Moffat always envisaged, and what we continue to be: an organisation run by business people for business people, with the one major passion of helping businesses in the region flourish.

Indeed, although our name and business operations have changed over the years, our ethos and values are still the same.

We’re still a not-for-profit, social enterprise, owned by our members.

We continue to be one of the best-value membership organisations for North East businesses, with affordable annual or monthly payments, and no hidden extras.

We still have a great board of directors who are elected representatives of those members, and who give their time freely and willingly to provide the direction and expertise we need.

And just like in those early days, we’re run on a day-to-day basis by a small team of the most amazing staff, whose passion is to provide a fantastic service and experience to all our members and clients.