A Middlesbrough-based aerial video production and film equipment hire company has received help with its high-tech growth plans thanks to a grant arranged through Tees Valley Business Compass.

Egg Air, part of Xcyte Media Ltd, which specialises in using drones to create aerial photographs and video, was founded in 2002 by expert videographer Paul Everett, and now employs three people at its premises in Coulby Newham. The company was an early adopter of drone technology for photo and video work, being one of the first 200 in the UK licensed to use aerial drones commercially.

Paul contacted Tees Valley Business Compass after finding the service online, and after making contact spoke to Business Growth Consultant Shak Asghar, who gave him advice on the support available. Egg Air was awarded £2,805 towards business consultancy, which has gone towards the development of two new websites to advertise the company’s services.

Egg Air’s services include drone photographs and videos of events such as weddings and the new Middlesbrough football shirt launch, to more specialist projects including production of aerial footage of crime scenes for use in Crown Court.

The grant was made from the Tees Valley Growth Fund, which supports businesses growth to create jobs, which can include consultancy and specialist advice, and support for companies to take part in overseas trade fairs. The fund, which is part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) can contribute up to 33% towards a project and the average grant is £11,000.

Paul Everett said: “When I met with Tees Valley Business Compass I found they immediately understood the needs of my business and what we are trying to achieve. The use of drones in commercial photography and videography is a growth industry, and one where professional and qualified practitioners spend a lot of time staying ahead of the technological curve. The support we have received has allowed us to create new avenues for sales, while concentrating on our core business activities.”

Shak Asghar said: “Many businesses have expert skills and a great value proposition, but can benefit from a little extra help getting their products and services to market. When we met Paul we could immediately see he had the skills, equipment and drive to grow his business, and he asked us to help him promote his aerial video business.

“The Tees Valley Growth fund can support up to 33% of growth projects for businesses in the boroughs of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington, Redcar & Cleveland, and Hartlepool, which fall within the ERDF rules. In addition to this Tees Valley Business Compass can help companies with support for broadband connectivity, energy efficiency and innovation.”

Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “Ambitious, forward-thinking companies like Xcyte Media are the life blood of Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley, and their continued growth and success are key to the prosperity of the area as a whole.

“The Tees Valley Business Compass provides invaluable advice and support to enterprise at all levels, and this is a great example of the help that can be accessed to take a business on to the next level.

“I’m delighted that Middlesbrough companies are making the most of these opportunities, and I will follow Egg Air’s development with interest.”

The new website created for Egg Air can be found at www.eggair.uk.