Invest ESSEX has been given a big thumbs up by local companies for its major role in growing the county’s business portfolio, during a series of recent site visits with Councillor Tony Ball.
Having been impressed with the calibre of finalists at the Business Excellence Awards Essex (BEAE) 2019 last September, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development asked Headline Sponsor Invest ESSEX to facilitate visits to the business community, to witness first-hand the county’s business success stories being assisted to scale-up by Invest ESSEX.
Invest ESSEX – the inward investment promotor and business support agency – arranged for Councillor Ball to be shown around a number of companies whose growth has been impacted by the access to finance, supplier chain and intelligence provided by them. All of the businesses have been given support and guidance from Invest ESSEX in order to maximise growth and profitability, thereby supporting their long-term sustainability.
Starting in November, Councillor Ball took in COCO Lighting’s premises in Braintree and Davina Steel’s bakery in Halstead, having met with Richard Haward’s Oysters and the Colchester Oyster Fishery in Mersea earlier the same week. Invest ESSEX has supported the rebuilding of the latter business after a fire which destroyed the oyster room, workshop and offices so that the business could continue supplying £4.5m of seafood product to 70 top London restaurants daily.
Invest ESSEX is also advising their clients on risk, structure and financing around export opportunities post-Brexit.
Adrian Gayler, Development Manager, COCO Lighting:
“Invest ESSEX has really helped us as a business with their wide breadth of support services available. More importantly they really are a nice bunch of people to do business with. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”
Invest ESSEX then organised for Councillor Ball to make two December trips in Chelmsford to see Global Marine and AON, followed by a post-Christmas tour of Vision Co-Working Spaces.
Vision’s Duke Street offices provided the perfect opportunity for Councillor Ball to talk with businesses from a variety of sectors, all of whom have benefited from the support of Invest ESSEX in recent years.
Invest ESSEX SME Business Manager Dave Watson, who joined Councillor Ball on that tour, commented:
“Local businesses were very grateful to Councillor Ball to take time out to visit them. They were able to explain the challenges faced when aiming to grow and how effective support can make a real difference – the free added-value advice from business professionals, direct B2B introductions and access to investment provided by Invest ESSEX were highlighted.”
January also saw a day in Harwich at Samuel Brothers bespoke tailors and the Galloper Wind Farm – examples of the wide variance of businesses within the county.
Invest ESSEX Location Services Director David Rooke:
“Visiting both Samuel Brothers and the Innogy Group’s Galloper Wind Farm facilities – located within just a few hundred yards of each other – gave real insight into the diversity of business not only in Harwich but Essex in general.
“Samuel Brothers is a very British, 190-year-old company and holder of a Royal Warrant using highly-skilled and experienced staff hand-making and tailoring the highest quality garments – 60% of which are exported around the world.
“Contrast that with the investment in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility servicing offshore wind power generation – a relatively young and rapidly developing industry – by German-owned company Innogy. These two companies highlight the importance and benefits of a mixed economy and both benefit from support from Invest ESSEX and many others in positively contributing to the growth of the UK economy.”
Samuel Brothers Managing Director Lee Dawson was pleased to be given the opportunity to walk Councillor Ball around his workshops:
“It was a great honour to receive a visit from Councillor Ball, during which we discussed and shared our perspective on a number of topics including grant funding for SMEs, apprenticeships, routes to market, remaining competitive and local recruiting.
“I am grateful for the work Invest ESSEX has undertaken for our business; they have been superb in assisting through managing growth, which is a challenge in itself.”
There was also time during January to pay a visit to Genix’s Harlow print factory.
A multidisciplinary agency that provides creative design, print and project management solutions and supplies graphics and display solutions to some of the world’s biggest brands including Nike and Selfridges; Genix’s Harlow facility specialises in applying vibrant colour designs to fabric for displays but can also print designs/logos on virtually any surface or material.
Invest ESSEX has been working closely with the team at Genix for the last two years in supporting their strategic growth plans and helping secure significant investment, training and introductions to fast-track those plans.
Ken Pitts, Group Managing Director, Genix:
‘Genix Imaging was first introduced to Dave Watson from Invest ESSEX when we were expanding into Harlow. Dave took time to visit my site and understand our business. He made us aware that there was help to grow our business and walked us through each stage and introduced us to the various providers.
“To date our business has been able to bring our expansion plans forward, resulting in both an increase in recruitment (we are currently employing 15 people at our Harlow premises) and revenues. From a standing start we are now predicting a turnover in our first full trading year of £2m.”