There is nothing more exciting in business than to see someone take an idea, turn it into a new venture, and then make it work. Start-up businesses have been one of the big success stories of the economic recovery so far. That's thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the people who have set them up.There is also more support available now than ever before to help people on their journey.
A year ago I attended the launch event at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone, of the East Kent school for creative start-ups. This school was created by the American entrepreneur and former BBC 'Dragon's Den' investor, Doug Richard. The school has been housed at the Creative Foundation offices and had been brought to Folkestone with the support of Kent County Council as part of the 'Grow for It' campaign to boost business investment in our area. Last week I visited the 'Make Good Festival' exhibition in London where the graduates from the school in East Kent were displaying their new businesses, alongside others who had also been part of a similar programme in London. We had some excellent local representatives including, the Folkestone Fringe, Pugsley Clothing, Jenny Haygarth's 'My Hook and Eye', Seafront Studies, Anecdotes Design, HRH Escargots and Creative Places. What was clear from all of the businesses I spoke to was how much they had benefited from the mentoring and support offered by the School for Creative Start-ups. You can find out more about the school and last week's event online at www.makegoodfestival.com
Last Friday I was invited by Edna Delaney from the Romney Resource Centre to open the new Romney Marsh Business Incubation Unit in Mountfield Road in New Romney. This new unit has been created with support from the Kent and Shepway Councils and also Magnox. Incubators are an excellent way for start-up businesses to benefit from low cost work space. They also create a good environment for businesses to pick up new ideas and to receive support and mentoring in their crucial first months. It has been good to see this year the success of the Factory Floor business incubator space in Folkestone, and I am pleased that Romney Marsh will also benefit now from a similar facility.
On Monday this week, the Marsh Million fund for businesses in the Romney Marsh area paid out loans to successful applicants; these included Romney Marsh Wools, Faye Trimmings, English Handmade Knives, Domination Paintball, Almon Laces and Kirrawee events. This fund is again supported by the Kent and Shepway Councils, and Magnox and I'd like to wish all of the businesses the best of luck for the next stage of their development.
Last Saturday I was also delighted to share in a proud moment for Dungeness when the Princess Royal performed the naming ceremony for the new Shannon class RNLI lifeboat, 'The Morrell'. The boat was funded through the generous bequest of Barbara Morrell, and many seafarers will I'm sure have reason to give thanks to her and the lifeboat crew in the years ahead.