Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is urging business owners across the region to help shape future support for companies as part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Mayor is leading efforts along with Teesside University and other organisations across the region to develop a package of targeted measures to help businesses impacted by the pandemic to recover quickly, to be resilient to future shocks and to help them grow.

To inform this, a short survey has been launched to understand in detail the effects the pandemic has had and may continue to have on companies across the five boroughs, and the short, medium and long-term support they need.

This comes just days after the Mayor spoke to the Prime Minister, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke, about the key role metro mayors will play in the local recovery.

The results will allow Mayor Houchen to ensure the right measures and support are put in place for businesses both large and small. The information will also allow the Mayor to influence Government policies so that they reflect the needs of Tees Valley businesses.

Mayor Houchen said: “It is vital that we do all we can to keep local businesses afloat. They are not only the backbone of our economy, but they are also people’s livelihoods, and they are currently facing greater pressures than ever before.

“That’s why I recently launched the Buy Local Tees Valley website, which aims to connect local people with businesses and tradesmen that are still open, or operating differently, during the virus outbreak.

“It’s also why I am determined to make sure our amazing business owners get the support they need over the coming weeks, months and even years. We need to get as much information as possible, then we can make sure the right support is available.

“Every business will be different, each one with its own story to tell and unique concerns, so I’d ask as many business bosses as possible, from across Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington to fill out our short online questionnaire so we can get our brilliant businesses back on their feet and so our voice can be heard in Government.”

Professor Jane Turner, OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) at Teesside University, said: “We are all too aware of the impact that the Coronavirus has had on our businesses in the region.

“As a University, we are doing everything we can to provide support, assistance and guidance at this time but it is absolutely vital that we work together as a region through this crisis, acting now, to support our businesses, to understand their immediate issues, so they are able to emerge from this situation better equipped to face the challenges ahead. This survey provides a voice for business leaders to express their current needs, concerns and plans, thus enabling a coherent and relevant response to the business community.”

It is the latest initiative to back local companies to be launched by the Mayor following the success of Buy Local Tees Valley, a portal where businesses and tradespeople can highlight they are still open for business during the pandemic, and the Tees Valley Business Support Helpline, for companies seeking advice or information as the coronavirus situation continues.

The survey is open to businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to large enterprises, and will run until Friday 22 May. Complete the survey online now.

To sign your business up with Buy Local Tees Valley or to find out more about local companies still open, visit the Buy Local Tees Valley website.

To contact the Tees Valley Business Support Helpline, call 01642 662 777.