Investment promotion agency Locate in Kent has helped companies expand or move into the county 783 times during its first 15 years – a rate of one new investment a week.
Locate in Kent figures show the biggest number of successes came in the Business Services sector (106) closely followed by ICT (98) and Manufacturing (81).
The majority of Kent newcomers arrived from elsewhere in the UK, however the county also welcomed more than 200 businesses from overseas. More than 60 companies came from the United States, 35 from France and 22 from Germany. There were also successes from Taiwan, Korea, Argentina and Israel.
Among the French arrivals was SBE, which enlisted the help of Locate in Kent in 1996. The telecoms company opened its first overseas subsidiary in Ashford later that year, employing just five members of staff. The firm expanded on to Beaver Business Park in 2001 and now employs almost 1,000 workers on site.
The diagnostics arm of American firm Abbott Laboratories has also enjoyed rapid growth since arriving in Dartford in 2003, and now employs more than 400 senior scientists.
Locate in Kent also provided support for Japanese giants including Hochiki, Fujitec, Fujiseal and Hitachi to come to or expand in Kent.
In terms of jobs, Locate in Kent has helped create or retain more than 50,000 positions in the past 15 years. By sector, Financial Services led the way with 9,780 jobs, ahead of ICT (5,791) and Business Services (4,774). In the last financial year -2011-12, a total of 3,243 positions were created or retained in the county by companies assisted – a three-year high.
Paul Wookey, Chief Executive at Locate in Kent, said: “Our 15th anniversary gives us the opportunity to look back on and celebrate our successes and, perhaps more importantly, plan for the future.
“We are proud of our achievements, having welcomed more than 700 companies of all sectors and sizes from across the globe to Kent. Many of these companies have flourished thanks to the county’s unique business and lifestyle benefits and have become major employers in the area.
“Our task now is to continue to deliver into the future, in spite of challenging economic conditions. It is our job to deliver flexible solutions to businesses looking to expand or relocate in Kent, providing and protecting more jobs in the county.”
Mark Dance, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Locate in Kent has provided a tremendous boost to the county over the past 15 years. By promoting the county as a unique business location, offering access to property searches, and free, professional relocation services, it has made relocation and expansion here a compelling business choice – a step that hundreds of firms have taken.
“The agency has a track record to be proud of. I know the team is not resting on their laurels and is focused on further promoting Kent as an exciting, innovative and inspiring place to do business. With the High Speed Rail Link, Enterprise Zone at Discovery Park and the Regional Growth Fund monies for East Kent, this statement has never been more true.”
For more information on how Locate in Kent can help you find the right location for your business, call 01732 520700, or visit locateinkent.com where an interactive property search is available at www.locateinkent.com/propertysearch