A PAIR of South Tyneside graduates are hoping to boost business in the borough with a new venture.
Stephen Whitfield has set up South Tyneside Business Marketing (STBM), a web design and business marketing company, alongside friend Dan McManus, both from South Shields.
The pair are providing digital marketing services and helping companies to improve their online presence.
Already they have secured contracts with a number of clients, including a pharmacy, garage and a snooker league.
They are also offering students a specialist portfolio service to help market themselves in a competitive jobs market.
Stephen, 22, studied a media production (video and new media) degree at the University of Sunderland and says he is using the commercial experience he gained since, while working at a Durham-based Spanish property portal, redesigning its website and helping promote its products, to ensure his own business is a success.
He said: “We have one simple goal – to use experience and knowledge to offer affordable business marketing to local South Tyneside businesses.
“We are a ‘hyper-local’ company, meaning that instead of working in unfamiliar locations, we aim to provide a quality and unbeatable service in the local community, which we know inside out.
“The North East loses many of its media/marketing graduates to the South, as there are many opportunities there within the creative industry.
“However, we have a huge level of local pride in South Tyneside and everything it has given us. As such, when we finished our university degrees we decided that instead of leaving the area, we wanted to give as much back as we possibly could and help it to grow.
“We truly believe that in order to be able to promote a business that you must know its location and the people within it.
“We have that knowledge and the technical ability to promote local businesses and to ensure that their online presence is as good as it possibly can be.”
Stephen says he credits his experience at the University of Sunderland for helping him have the confidence to set up his own business. He said: “My degree was amazing and the level of experience that I got and the variety really carried me forward.
“It was not just learning about video and new media, it was web design, radio and video production, all these elements gave me the depth of experience that’s unmatched.”
Dan added: “We specialise in bringing modern advertising methods to the region.
“Our website developers are pioneers of the most up-to-date and effective marketing. We employ techniques that ensure local companies will have all the resources it needs to be seen on an ever-growing online platform.
“We have a great deal of passion for South Tyneside and believe that contributes greatly to our exceptional business marketing standards. Our aim is to promote local businesses online in a variety of ways ranging from creating professional websites, to digital marketing campaigns.”
University business development manager, Vince Robson, who manages The Enterprise Place, the university’s support facility for students and graduate entrepreneurs, said: “It’s really pleasing that another of our graduates has drawn inspiration from their studies and time at university, and achieved their ambition of running their own business here in the North East.
“We wish Dan and South Tyneside Business Marketing the best of luck for the future.”