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Friday, 10 October 2014

Essex County Council is highlighting Colchester as a growing creative hub for the region during its Essex Means Business campaign.

The campaign aims to put Essex firmly on the map as the place to be for innovation, skills and enterprise. Colchester boasts all of these in its thriving creative industry.

Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, said: “We recognise that Colchester is fast becoming the creative capital of Essex and we are doing everything we can to make sure things are in place to support the growth of this 21st Century industry.”

Colchester-based Rob Day is founder and chief executive of ThinkBDW Ltd, one of Britain’s leading property marketing agencies. He is also a board member of The Mission Marketing Group plc, a network of entrepreneurial marketing communications agencies including ThinkBDW Ltd.

A leader in his field nationally, Rob started his business as a teenager working in architectural design and now employs 120 people in Colchester alone. ThinkBDW recently moved into its impressive new UK headquarters in Wyncolls Road, Colchester, and also has offices in Central London and Newcastle.

ThinkBDW designs and produces marketing materials for many of Britain’s developers and is also one of the largest property media booking agencies. Its services include the latest in CGI and digital marketing including touchscreens and iPad apps, bespoke marketing suites, signage and brochures.

Rob said: “We use the very latest technology and skills to create high quality and effective marketing and advertising. Colchester is a prime location and the fact we have our UK headquarters here is an endorsement of the town’s dynamic environment and the excellent transport links which are essential for our business serving clients across the UK.”

Rob is working with Essex County Council to develop skills opportunities in the creative sector in Colchester.

The University of Essex has many digital technology specialists with a top-rated School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, as well as digital businesses choosing to move into the new Parkside Office Village, which was set up with support from Essex County Council. These include Bowater Holographics, an innovative British technology company, which is a world leader in the mass reproduction of full colour, three dimensional, volume reflection holograms for product and identity security.

Technology start-up Smart Networked Environments, is also moving to Parkside. Technology director Dr Ken Guild previously worked as an academic in the university’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. The company has developed an innovative smart mapping delivery platform called WAI2Go. This can create customised multi-dimensional and interactive maps which can integrate navigation, services and other information. It has proved ideal for large buildings or campuses with high profile clients including the European Space Research Technology Centre.

Bryn Morris, registrar at the University of Essex, said: “With the forthcoming opening of our new building to house Essex Business School and easy access to the talent and energy of our students and academic staff, we believe businesses choosing to locate themselves at Parkside, and becoming part of our community, will see major competitive advantages.”

The Eastern Enterprise Hub (EEHub) is setting up a new “Games Hub”, which will take place at the Parkside Office Village, part of the Knowledge Gateway at the University of Essex, to kick-start and lead games development in Colchester. The 22-week-course, led by industry pros, will guide digital games entrepreneurs through all aspects of the industry, from design and feasibility to marketing, as well as the areas covered by the EEHub’s business development and support programme. The programme is partly funded by Essex County Council through an Economic Growth Strategy grant.

Simon Mead, chief executive at the EEHub, said: “With more and more people wanting to work in the game design and interactive entertainment industries in Essex, the EEHub, in collaboration with a number of organisations in the area, sees this new programme as a way to develop new business.”

The EEHub runs the Essex Creative Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with Essex County Council’s Essex Innovation Programme, for people who want to start up creative businesses in Essex. Catherine Flack, who runs her own contemporary graphic design business, Flackers, took part in the programme. “I met a group of local like-minded creative people, who I hope to remain in contact with long after the course finishes,” she said. “The speakers that shared their entrepreneurial journeys were all splendid. I obtained something really useful from each one of them. I discovered an enthusiasm and confidence to be my own boss.”

Essex County Council is planning for the growing creative sector in Colchester, by looking at how to support the sector as a whole, from ensuring school children in the town are getting the right skills needed for the town’s digital industry to developing a creative business centre in the town centre.

“Colchester’s got a real creative buzz about it, and I like to think we are contributing to it,” said Mr Bentley.

To find out more about how Essex County Council is helping business in Essex visit To follow the Essex Means Business campaign search #EssexMeansBusiness on social media or the website.

The Essex Means Business campaign aims to highlight the county’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The event, which runs from October 6 to 10, has the support of businesses, colleges and universities and other organisations around the county.

Essex County Council cabinet members responsible for economic growth will be visiting businesses and other organisations that make Essex the place to be for business and innovation.

To coincide with the week-long campaign, Essex Chambers of Commerce is today hosting an exhibition, Discovering Business in Colchester, at Charter Hall, from 10am to 4pm.

Around 70 exhibitors will be present, with the event also including morning and afternoon speed networking sessions and a “State of the County” forum discussion, to be chaired by EADT business editor Duncan Brodie.

Members of the panel will include Rodney Bass, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, Nicola Beach, chief executive of Braintree District Council, David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, George Keiffer, chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, and Ian Vipond, strategic director at Colchester Borough Council.

Reference: EADT (2014:Online)


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