Kent Science Park (KSP) has started 2014 with a bang after welcoming two new tenants onto the site in January. Thriving Australian cosmetics brand Aesop have set up their first UK-based R&D office on the Park, and Irish charity Fields of Life are launching the Great Britain division of their operation from KSP.
The additions of a cosmetics company and a charity to the site mark two firsts for Kent Science Park, which already has over sixty tenants working in a variety of sectors including pharmaceutical, technology, life science and food.
James Speck, Site Director of KSP discussed the new additions: “Aesop are a unique addition to the site, as while a number of our companies undertake R&D, no-one else is operating in the cosmetics industry. It’s definitely another string to our bow and reinforces how our flexible working space can accommodate practically any type of business.”
“Having Fields of Life set up their GB office here was also an honour, and we worked to try to accommodate them as best we could. Being a charity, they need to ensure that every penny counts; so it is edifying for us to know that the space and services we provide represents excellent value.”
Debbie Cameron, who will be heading up the Fields of Life GB office also commented: “Kent Science Park was the perfect place to locate our business. Not only is it both well-established and well-regarded in the Kent Business community, but it is so easy to get to London from here, which will be key when securing corporate sponsors for our work in Africa. Not only are James and his team extremely supportive as landlords, but there are lots of additional employee benefits to working here, such as the gym, swimming pool and access to all the events taking place.”
Providing business support for both tenants and the local community continues to be a priority for KSP, as the park builds on some of the initiatives launched in 2013. For example, as a key Kent partner in the INTERREG funded CHAIN2 project, for the last several months KSP has been hosting two separate weekly French classes. Here local business people are able to develop a basic understanding of the French language and this encourages more cross-channel collaborations. The Park also holds regular events and seminars on subjects such as employment law and R&D tax credits; facilitates quarterly meetings with MP Gordon Henderson and the local business community and hosts sectors specific events in conjunction with organisations such as Produced in Kent.
“Increasingly, we have found that Kent Science Park has become a lynchpin of both the local and wider Kent business community,” James commented, “We are constantly hosting events, visits and seminars and there is always something interesting taking place. In the last year, Joanna Lumley has visited KSP as she is partnering with inventor Alexander Bushell, we’ve had television shows filmed on the grounds and Kent police have recently begun dog training here.
“Last year we broke ground on our Tech II units, which are already fully let. When Kent Science Park took over the site in 2003, there were 650 employees working here. Now there are close to 1,500. This is because we have seen rapid growth from a number of our tenants, and we work in a way that means that we can provide accommodation to meet their changing requirements. I’m confident that 2014 will see further success at Kent Science Park.”