Innovation lights up business

A North East business specialising in commercial lighting controls has joined the Innovation Programme to help develop new innovative processes.

Durable Technologies was founded seven years ago by married couple Alex and Lorraine Carter to manufacture lighting control products which comply with international standards and also focus on reducing the carbon footprint. Their customers range from construction companies, academies, warehouses to shopping centres.

In 2005 Alex left the stability of full time employment as a Product Development Manager to become his own boss, a decision he has never regretted as his company now exports worldwide from Australia, South Africa, Spain to Germany to name just a few. 

Alex approached the North East Business and Innovation Centre’s (BIC) Innovation Programme which utilises £724,000 of ERDF investment and part financed by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007 – 2013, to promote a step change in the region by encouraging North East businesses to explore their innovative potential. Alex explains:

“Here at Durable Technologies we know only too well how important it is to keep innovating to survive in this market. We have changed the business design many times over the years, especially during the recent recession. We found ourselves in a place where our buying costs were rising and at the same time our sales were going down.

“We suddenly had an expensive product and a decrease in customers therefore we revisited our product base. The end result was a smaller, lighter and more efficient product, the Durable Lighting Control 100. To help reduce costs we moved production from Eastern Europe to Teesside.

“The business has gone from just my wife and I to now having six employees and a recent as well as moving into bigger offices for more space. We have joined the Innovation Programme in the hope to further reduce costs and to expand our range of products.

“We are a small business which is taking on larger companies and we have to out innovate them, it’s that simple. We are competing against national household names but we feel confident that it is achievable.”

Lilla Preston, Innovation Project Officer, added: “From the very beginning Alex had real clarity in where he wanted his business to go and what the outcome should be. I am eager to see how the programme can assist and where the next three years takes the company. I wish them all the very best.”


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The North East BIC is an organisation which exists to support businesses of all sizes and at all stages of their development. Our experienced advisers help hundreds of businesses to start up each year, and the 14-acre BIC site can accommodate over 160 companies in purpose-built offices and work spaces. This space is made up of over 200 offices and units, from 150-6250 sq ft and applicable to most sectors, inc biotech . We also offer an array of technical resources and support services, as well as superb meeting / conference facilities fitted with the latest video conferencing equipment. In addition the site is able to offer companies excellent broadband, hosting and telecoms facilities. Established in 1994, our facilities have grown in line with the needs of industry and include specific incubator units to help nurture aspiring businesses. We also offer immediate support, information and advice on any enterprise-related issues. The BIC also has excellent links with a wide range of organisations on a regional, national and international level ensuring our clients benefit from access to the latest business opportunities. Specialities Business support services, business space and accomodation, business skills and training, enterprise in education, product design and development, ICT services, marketing services