STRONG YEAR FOR LOCATE IN KENT

Paul-WookeyLocate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, helped create or retain almost 3,000 jobs in they county last year, latest figures reveal.

Set a target of 2,750 jobs either directly created, retained or indirectly created, for the year to the end of March 2014, the agency recorded 2,762. Of those, 1,398 were new jobs, with 917 being jobs retained. They came from 56 companies committing relocate to or expand in Kent.

Significantly, 820 jobs were as a result of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – overseas companies setting up operations or expanding in the county.

Locate in Kent has worked to increase the number of FDI projects coming into its pipeline by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and by appointing agencies to identify leads in France, Germany and the USA.

The figures also revealed that the highest number of successes came in the high value ICT (16%) and Life Sciences (11%) sectors, with 37 active Life Science projects in the current pipeline, more than any other sector. Environmental Technology projects have also increased very steadily over the last few years.

“This year’s figures are encouraging and reflect the increased confidence and growth in the UK economy,” said Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent.

“Kent has a great offering for ICT and Life Sciences companies, with an abundance of high quality bases such as Kent Science Park, Discovery Park, the Innovation Centre Medway and innovation centres at The Bridge and The Base, Dartford.”

“We are targeting companies in those sectors. For example, in March we worked alongside Kent County Council and its Kent International Business programme at CeBIT, the world’s largest business-to-business ICT event, held in Hannover, to promote the county as both a business location and a place with which to trade.

“In addition we have attended a number of life science events in the UK and US.”

Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Kent County Council, said: “The figures for FDI give us particular encouragement as investments from foreign companies tends to be greater in both capital and jobs terms than that of domestic businesses, and companies that move here from abroad often reinvest later.

“It is vital that we tap into the FDI market and the measures Locate in Kent has put in place to do that are clearly starting to pay dividends.”

Paul Wookey added: “Our latest figures show that 2013/14 was a strong year, and with 306 active projects in the pipeline, which the team here is working hard to convert into successes, 2014/15 shows all the signs of being equally successful.”

To find out how Locate in Kent can help you grow or set up in Kent, visit wwwlocateinkent.com.

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