Thurrock businesses flock to conference

OVER 150 businesses attended this year’s Thurrock Business Conference (20 November) at the Civic Hall, Grays.

The event was opened by Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, who spoke about Thurrock’s exciting growth agenda, and the achievements that have been made since the last conference.

Afterwards, he said: “It was good to remind people that a year ago they’d asked certain questions of the council and now we’ve been able to answer quite a few of them – or showbiz2 what we have done to help.

“Obviously there is still more to do, but this conference shows the council and Thurrock’s business community are working well together for everyone’s benefit – a partnership that will become closer and all the more important in the years to come.”

Simon Harper, the Port of Tilbury’s Training and Development Manager, chaired the event and welcomed delegates to the third annual conference.

And keynote speaker, Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam, the 100 per cent fruit jam company which he started aged 14 using his grandmother’s recipes, inspired delegates with the story of his entrepreneurial journey.

Thurrock’s Next Top Boss programme took centre focus. The scheme, which helps young people launch their careers is a set of business challenges where students are given the chance to work in a real-work environment, gaining valuable experience and developing their business skills.

The Thames Gateway Innovation, Growth and Enterprise scheme – also known as TIGER – was also highlighted. It aims to boost jobs and stimulate business activity in Thurrock and north Kent, offering zero per cent interest loans to businesses investing in new products, services and long-term job opportunities.

Grays-based Vortex Exhaust Technology secured £240,000 from the fund and will create 47 jobs with the zero per cent loan.

Barry Mead, managing director, said: “It is a breath of fresh air to have serious financial help and support from local authorities.” His company specialises in developing carbon emission-reduction products for diesel and petrol engines.

The council’s chief executive, Graham Farrant rounded off the conference by asking delegates if they thought the £6 billion worth of private investment pouring into the borough would be beneficial. Delegates agreed it would.

They also heard about other initiatives from the council to support growth and entrepreneurship in local businesses, and for more information about what’s on offer from the council email business@thurrock.gov.uk

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