A group of Colchester’s business and professional leaders have joined forces to promote the town and attract more jobs to what is one of the fastest growing boroughs in the UK.
At a launch reception at the House of Commons (on January 29, 2018) hosted by Colchester MP Will Quince, the Colchester Ambassadors spoke of the golden opportunity that the town has to offer to inward investors and companies looking to set up, expand or relocate
“There really aren’t many places that offer Colchester’s unique combination in terms of business prospects, entrepreneurial outlook, culture and heritage, as well as first-class training and education provision,” said Tim Price, Operations Director at Park City Consulting.
“When companies are looking for a new location to grow their business, we want to ensure that Colchester is firmly on their radar and that they recognise we have a highly skilled and entrepreneurial workforce ready to help them achieve their goals.”
The Colchester Ambassadors – which has 21 founder members – urged MPs, business relocation specialists and local dignitaries to put the town at the forefront of their considerations for new investment opportunities.
The town is currently benefiting from £3 billion local authority and private sector investment in five development areas; Tollgate, Northern Approaches, Hythe, town centre and the Knowledge Gateway. Plus ultrafast broadband has been made available for 900 businesses in the town centre. The borough also has excellent strategic transport links as it is less than an hour from London, Stansted Airport and Harwich International Port.
Stephen Clark, Managing Director of Churchmanor Estates Company plc – which has built many of the town’s business and retail facilities – said: “Colchester has one of the fastest growing economies in the UK; it’s had the 7th largest population growth in the past decade and the 5th largest growth in housing. There are also proposals for two new garden communities.
“It is therefore crucial that organisations like ourselves do everything we can to create and encourage the necessary job opportunities so that people have employment on their doorstep that is rewarding and fulfilling. The Ambassadors share a pride in Colchester, a desire to see it flourish and a willingness to give our time to promote it.”
Tony Fisher, Senior Partner at Fisher Jones Greenwood solicitors, added: “Colchester has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit and we have numerous success stories of business people who have started their companies here and now have dozens, even hundreds, of employees. In fact, Colchester has become the creative capital of Essex with 1 in 6 businesses in the creative and digital sector.”
A new creative hub, with 40 studios, in the old police station in Queen Street, is already full. The University of Essex’s thriving Knowledge Gateway research and development park will eventually employ 2,000 people; when the University’s new Innovation Centre opens later this year it will provide workspace and hands-on support to help 50 start-up companies to scale-up and succeed.
Lorna Fox O’Mahony, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Designate, highlighted Colchester’s world-class knowledge economy, offering businesses easy access to world-class research and development in areas including data science, robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as excellent employment, education and training opportunities for all.
“The University is ranked top 20 in the UK for research and for education, and produces 4,500 graduates a year, and there are fantastic vocational and degree courses on offer at Colchester Institute.
“Colchester is also home to a strong schools and colleges sector, with numerous highly-rated state and independent schools and colleges, including our two grammar schools, which are among the UK’s highest performing state schools.”
“When people are deciding where to set up their business, we know the quality of education for their children is one of the key factors in their choice,” said Alison Andreas, Principal of Colchester Institute.
“But added to this, we have a historic town centre and other beautiful locations within the borough, including Mersea, Dedham and Wivenhoe, plus countless heritage, cultural, leisure and entertainment attractions including Colchester Castle, Firstsite and Colchester Zoo. It makes Colchester a very attractive proposition for those looking to develop their businesses.”
In a series of videos on the www.colchesterambassadors.co.uk website, each of the Ambassadors has highlighted what Colchester offers to their own organisations and has made their contact details available for other businesses looking to find out more. They are also appealing to other members of the business community to become Colchester Ambassadors.
The Ambassadors are: Adrian Pritchard (Colchester Borough Council), Alison Andreas (Colchester Institute), Carl Milton (Fenwick), Craig Newnes (McDonalds), Ian Montgomery (XS Items Ltd), Ian Morehouse (Flakt Woods), Ian Vipond (Colchester Borough Council), Jeremy Newman (Newman Commercial), Jon Neill (Sportsafe UK), Lorna Fox O’Mahony (University of Essex), Julian Lamb (Barkley Projects), Karen Ainley (Mosaic – The Integrated Marketing Agency), Ken Jenkinson (ex Colchester Royal Grammar School), Laura Mansel-Thomas (Ingleton Wood), Paul Bleck (Bartech Marine), Paul Milsom (Milsom Hotels), Sara Thakkar (Colne Housing), Stephen Clark (Churchmanor Estates Company), Stuart Cock (Mersea Homes), Tim Price (Park City), Tony Fisher (Fisher Jones Greenwood).