In­vest­ments bring surge of 3,000 jobs

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update - By Chris Price

An agency which en­cour­ages busi­nesses to move to Kent brought nearly 3,000 jobs to the county last year.

Lo­cate in Kent, based in Ash­ford, helped 46 com­pa­nies in­vest in the re­gion in the 12 months to April, ei­ther mov­ing here from other ar­eas or find­ing new premises for busi­nesses al­ready based in the Gar­den of Eng­land.

Nearly two thirds were from busi­ness and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, life sci­ences and ICT, iden­ti­fied by the agency as “high value, high growth sec­tors”.

More than half of the 2,915 jobs came from those in­dus­tries.

Eight of the in­vest­ments were from over­seas, with three from the United States, two from Swe- den, and the re­main­der from France, Italy and Aus­tria.

Chair­man David Fitzsim­mons said: “It is par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing that so many of the in­vest­ments and jobs were in high value, high growth sec­tors, so fur­ther new jobs can be ex­pected.

“Th­ese in­vest­ments and jobs are also ben­e­fit­ing ev­ery part of Kent and Med­way.”

Kent County Coun­cil awarded Lo­cate in Kent a three-year con­tract to be its in­ward in­vest­ment agency in 2014. It has placed a large amount of its re­sources into grow­ing the county’s life sci­ences sec­tor, which made up five of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s suc­cess­ful deals.

KCC eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment chief Cllr Mark Dance, who sits on the Lo­cate in Kent board, said: “Life sci­ences is a cru­cial sec­tor for Kent and we have ben­e­fited greatly from hav­ing mod­ern, flex­i­ble premises such as Dis­cov­ery Park in Sand­wich, Kent Sci­ence Park in Sit­ting­bourne, and at the up and com­ing Kent Med­i­cal Cam­pus in Maid­stone.

“We now have a life sci­ence clus­ter group – Bio­gate­way – up and run­ning, and this will help Kent com­pa­nies work to­gether and as­sist in the at­trac­tion of more of th­ese com­pa­nies.

“I am al­ready look­ing for­ward to an­other suc­cess­ful year despite the dis­trac­tions of the Euro­pean ref­er­en­dum.”

Lo­cate in Kent chair­man David Fitzsim­mons

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