Jobs and business boost begins in East Kent


The first firms to successfully apply for interest-free loans to boost their business and create jobs through Kent County Council’s massive £35million Government-backed scheme to grow the East Kent economy were unveiled today.

The companies’ plans for growth and increased employment all passed the rigorous scrutiny of the ‘Expansion East Kent’ scheme, which aims to generate 5,000 new jobs by offering local firms in Thanet, Dover, Shepway and Canterbury vital, zero-rate loans.

An audience of business leaders and entrepreneurs met the successful businesses at the Cruise Terminal, in Dover, where ‘Grow For It’ a new campaign from Kent County Council was launched, aimed at driving business investment and growth into East Kent.

Leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said:

“The initial tranche of funding has been agreed with seven companies, with a further six whose projects we have approved awaiting sign-off – creating a total of 327 jobs. Kent County Council has agreed to invest more than £3.6million in these 13 projects from Expansion East Kent, the investment fund we set up with the support from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The projects include accountancy, pharmaceutical research, manufacturing, tourism & leisure, and childcare. In addition, we have a number of other exciting proposals in the pipeline to create over 5,000 jobs that we are keen to get off the starting blocks.

“We were tremendously impressed by the determination and entrepreneurial spirit shown by these firms. They all possess a sound business basis, a vision of what is possible, and the skills necessary to succeed – we wish them all well.

“Expansion East Kent is an ambitious programme to create thousands of new jobs across the area by developing the private sector business base. The programme also aims to unlock private sector finance, stimulating more than £300 million in associated investment over the course of the next four years and creating a massive driver for the East Kent economy.

“Expansion East Kent is providing financial support to firms as interest free loans. This intelligent use of funding means we can recycle the money to provide vital business support on an on-going basis, benefitting local firms and creating local jobs for years to come.”

MP for Folkestone & Hythe, Damian Collins, said:

“It is excellent news that the money pledged by the Government to support businesses in East Kent is being delivered. This will help create new jobs by supporting the expansion plans of these firms. I am particularly pleased to see H V Wooding in Hythe being amongst the first companies to benefit.

“I would encourage other businesses to apply for support from the East Kent regional growth fund, and am pleased to support the new ‘Grow For It’ campaign, which is working to encourage more local applications and also for more businesses in general to look at investing in our area.”

MP for Dover & Deal, Charlie Elphicke, said:

“It is great news to see growth fund money now being provided to business. It is important for more businesses in Dover and Deal to bid so that funds can be provided to businesses from across the whole of East Kent.”

North Thanet MP, Sir Roger Gale, said:

“I am particularly pleased that Margate is represented in the portfolio of companies through South East Retail which has exciting plans for the development of a job-creating boutique hotel in Margate. This is precisely the kind of leisure-related business that we need to promote in the interests of East Kent.”

South Thanet MP, Laura Sandys, said:

“Having secured £35million from the Government to support local businesses take on more employees, I am thrilled to see a number of great companies in Thanet awarded this money. It is also fantastic to see businesses at the new Discovery Park, in Sandwich, receive loans from this fund. I am very confident that the Regional Growth Fund will not only assist those businesses that have been selected, but will also help generate wider investment in the area and help to create a wealth of new jobs.”

The first firms to successfully apply for interest-free loans to boost their businesses are;

Bumble Beez
Southeast Retail
Chalk Hill
H V Wooding
UK Mobile Bars
Creative Minds
The Research Network

To find out more about Expansion East Kent and for full details of the application process, please visit: www.kent.gov.uk/expansion.

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