Locate in KentAlmost 3,000 jobs have been created or retained in Kent in the past year thanks to the work of Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency.

In all, 2,864 job successes from 60 companies were recorded by the agency, with more expected to complete imminently. Those 60 companies occupied 340,000ft of property across the county.

Engineering and Transport & Logistics were the sectors that saw most successes in the year with seven each, while ICT and Retail & Wholesale recorded five each.

“Given the difficult economic conditions, we are extremely pleased with what we have achieved this year,” said Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent.

“Our levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are also encouraging, which is being helped in no small part by the availability of Regional Growth Fund (RGF) funding in East Kent (Expansion East Kent) and the Thames Gateway (TIGER).”

As of May 2013, the number of prospects at home and abroad showing interest in the county included 229 in East Kent, where financial incentives have been available for more than a year.

Paul-Wookey-locate-in-kentOf those, 11 per cent are in the life sciences sector, with nine per cent for engineering and seven per cent for environmental businesses, all higher than elsewhere in Kent.

Of projects looking at East Kent, a third of them had expressed an interest in applying for an interest-free loan from Expansion East Kent, which so far has distributed nearly £6m to 21 East Kent businesses that will create over 500 jobs, with a further £10m in the pipeline creating over 800 jobs. This is all part of Expansion East Kent plans to create 5,000 new jobs, and unlock a further £300m of private sector investment.

Elsewhere in the county, 200 projects are in the pipeline for the Thames Gateway area, 157 for Maidstone and Ashford, and 98 for West Kent.

Paul said: “Our pipeline of potential successes is very healthy, especially for overseas companies, showing that financial incentives, such as Expansion East Kent and TIGER funding, really do help attract international interest.

“We are confident that we will be able to point to tangible evidence of overseas companies investing in the county soon.”

He added that the agency worked hard to build on the benefits of Expansion East Kent and TIGER to promote the county to the rest of the UK and the world, attending the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Offshore Wind events in Madrid and The Hague; Ecobuild at London’s Excel in March; MIPIM in Cannes; and Bio International 2013 in Chicago in the past year.

“The value of being present at these events is shown in our successes last year and the potential successes in the pipeline for this year,” he said.

“We are also appointing lead generators in North America, France and Germany thanks to funding from Kent County Council. These new appointments will help us identify target businesses very early in their decision making process, improving our odds of converting news leads into successes.

“Our message at home and abroad is that Kent is a great place to locate, with financial assistance for companies in two areas and world class transport links with High Speed 1 and flights from Manston to Schiphol and onward to the rest of the world.

“More and more companies are agreeing that it is the perfect base for their operations and a great place for their staff to live.”

For more information on what Locate in Kent is doing to promote the county as a business location visit www.locateinkent.com


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