THE success of the Riverside Business Centre, close to the Port of Tilbury and historic Tilbury Fort, has enabled it to secure nearly £2.4m to help develop 20 self-contained workshops.
South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has agreed to allocate £2.36m of the Government’s Local Growth Fund investment, matched by £2.76m from Thurrock Council, to deliver the next phase of the Riverside Business Centre project.
The money will support the development of 14,000ft2 (1,300m2) of workspace for light industrial, storage and distribution uses and help meet the strong demand for these types of premises from local businesses.
It is estimated that once complete the 20 workshops will be home to companies employing 48 people.
The first phase of the Riverside Business Centre delivered 27,381ft2 (2,544m2) of managed office, studios and workshop units. Thanks to access to a reception, boardroom and breakout areas for meeting, the centre has proved popular with business and has an occupancy rate consistently over 90%.
The companies occupying the new workshops will be able to access business support, including advice on finance, marketing, management and technical support, offered through the Riverside Business Centre.
The funding was allocated after Thurrock Council put a compelling case to SELEP, which is responsible for supporting the economies of Essex, East Sussex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock, and promoting the 170,000 businesses across the whole area.
Christian Brodie, Chief Executive of SELEP, said: “Many small businesses struggle to overcome the challenges of start-up and growth and in Thurrock, the number of early business failures is above the national average. These new workshops, and the business support that will be given to the companies that will occupy them, will create an environment where they can survive and thrive.
“By using the Local Growth Fund we can unlock further development on this strategically important site, help businesses grow, create local jobs and strengthen the local economy.”
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “The first phase of this project has been a real success so we were delighted that SELEP has agreed to join us and provide funding to further enhance the Riverside Business Centre.
“This site is one of six economic hubs identified by Thurrock Council as critical to the growth of the borough so we know that investment here will pay dividends in driving the economic development of both Tilbury and Thurrock as a whole.”
The aim is for the new workspace to be open for business by Autumn 2021.