Thu 21 June 2018, 2:59 pm
Suruchi Sharma speaks to new and established businesses across Medway about the appeal of the region, what they have achieved, the value they bring and their plans for the future
Simulation video game developer Dovetail Games and water feature designer Fountain Workshop – responsible for the striking fountains in London’s Kings Cross – are just two innovative businesses to have established themselves in Medway in recent years. They joined longerestablished companies; multinational defence and aerospace organisation BAE Systems and manufacturing firm Jubilee Clips, adding value to an increasingly dynamic business community. Locate in Kent provides free support on funding, skills and property advice to companies moving to the county.
Its head of investment, Chris Broom, says recent years have seen a “diverse cross section of businesses” investing in Medway, differing in size and type of industry. The Innovation Studios in Strood have incubator spaces that, when opened in September 2017, were filled quickly with start-ups and SMEs from the creative industries. Broom says: “We have also had large, international firms such as Pacadar, a leader in the design and manufacture of pre-cast concrete structures, base its UK operations here.
“Medway has a strong reputation for advanced manufacturing and engineering, and continues to attract innovative businesses in this sector.” There are many reasons for firms to move to Medway, says Broom, citing handy transport connections to London, motorways and sea ports. He also highlights Innovation Park Medway, run by Medway Council and part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, which is one of three hubs – with Ebbsfleet Garden City and Kent Medical Campus – aimed at enticing new businesses. ‘Enterprise Zone’ status means local authorities can offer companies based in these places discounted business rates.
Firms at the Innovation Park will “benefit from strong support from the council”, says Broom: “The anticipated number of jobs the site will create will not only benefit local people, but will drive economic growth,” he adds. “From our perspective, the opportunity is great because it will unlock new commercial property which will help us easily attract businesses into the area.” Medway1 looks at some of the region’s recent acquisitions and speaks to another business which is a stalwart of the region...
KENT, SURREY AND SUSSEX AIR AMBULANCE
Innovation Park Medway at Rochester Airport has welcomed its first official resident: the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance (pictured above). The charity has returned to the area where it was once based, after 18 years in Marden in the Maidstone district of Kent. Chief executive Adrian Bell says the move was crucial, as the Air Ambulance had outgrown its previous site:
“It gives the sort of facilities we need 24 hours a day and we’ll run the sort of service our patients want.” Being involved with the community is clearly an important aim for the charity, which relies on public money to fund its essential services. Bell says: “We wouldn’t exist if the community did not need us and if they did not support us. The council has been extremely friendly, and from the leader downwards, it has been nothing but a warm welcome and support.”
The full version of this article appears in the 11th edition of Medway1 magazine, out this month. Watch this space to read online