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outh East incubators aid 2,000 firms

A South East business incubation network has helped nearly 2,000 young companies get on their feet this year, organisers claim.

At its recent annual open public meeting, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) outlined its end-of-year figures for residents and businesses within the region.

SEEDA chief executive Pam Alexander revealed that the agency’s network of 22 Enterprise Hubs, which were established to offer advice and support to start-up firms and entrepreneurs in the high-technology sector, was used by over 1,800 businesses in the last year.

From Sittingbourne, Canterbury and the Medway towns in Kent, where SEEDA assisted young pharmaceutical and biotechnology start-ups to Oxfordshire, where it propped up life sciences innovators, the agency said its goal has been to help companies identify market opportunities and drive competition.

Alexander said that SEEDA has helped firms demonstrate their worth of approximately £25m annually to the region, and through a partnership with a prominent manufacturing body has aided producers in realising £20m of added value.

“The future prosperity of the South East, and the UK’s economy as a whole, depends on investment and continued sustainable growth in our region,” Alexander said.

“SEEDA is fully committed to supporting improved productivity through ‘smart growth’ and to providing the most supportive environment to enable the region’s businesses to prosper and remain globally competitive.”

Alexander said that SEEDA plans to focus in 2006 on meeting growing challenges from China and India and working with London on the development of facilities for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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