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February 2020 - SBP Newsletter

Published: Tuesday, 18th February 2020

The latest Southend business news brought to you by the Economic Development Team!

Firstly, I hope you, your families and your businesses  were not impacted by the recent storms that have battered our coastline and borough. However I understand that some businesses have been affected and hope you are all able to get back up and running soon. While we are thinking of the weather it is worth a mention for our RNLI Lifeboat station who will be one of the fund raising beneficiaries of the Annual Mayoral Ball at Apton Hall led by the Mayor and Mayoress. To join this special occasion and to help raise funds for this worthwhile cause please click here to email or call 07538 306226. Tickets cost £55 per person.   

We recently held the SBP Executive meeting and received updates on a range of opportunities and challenges including the Town Centre, Brexit, SELEP and Smart Southend. So in order to keep you up to date: The Better Queensway project is continuing to develop and plans are currently being drawn up for a second public consultation which will commence on 20th February with a business specific event on 25th February. More information can be found at www.betterqueensway.co.uk  and I would encourage everyone to participate. The Airport Business Park has now received planning consent for the Launchpad which will be a space for entrepreneurs and small businesses at the heart of the development. This will be going out to tender later in the year when the council seeks an operator to run the centre. Westcliff Rugby club are now playing from their new clubhouse to the north of the site and the IPECO building is progressing well for occupation later in the year.  However, I do need to mention that SBP Executive members did raise, and also discuss at some length, their significant concerns relating to the further delays in taking forward the Seaways development which must remain a key regeneration project for Southend. In respect to Smart Southend, this is a new website to enable Southend Borough Council to share data with businesses and residents. The Executive were very interested to see this new site especially in regard to the potential commercial benefits the data will offer to businesses and services. As an example the data showing population, deprivation and health could be used to help business locate, identify their target audiences and the size of their markets in the area. There are plans to add smart data from footfall cameras later in the year and traffic data but the council team are keen for businesses to start using the data and to feedback on how useful it is, how it can be used and what is missing. To take a look at the website click here and to provide feedback please email the team by clicking here. 

Our next Southend Business Partnership Briefing will be held on Thursday 26th March at the Park Inn Hotel from 8am - 10:30am. The theme of the event will be the Southend Climate Emergency and Achieving Carbon Neutral involving a range of keynote speakers and with an opportunity to engage in Southend's new collaborative approach. To book your space or for more information please click here.

Given that the UK has now left the EU and begins the transition period, I would like to remind businesses about the importance of ensuring their business and their supply chains are as Brexit prepared as they can be, information can be sought from both the gov.uk site or alternative the BEST Growth hub can provide help and advice to small and medium sized businesses. It is always worth checking in with them either by email or phone 01702 417765.  BEST Growth Hub has arranged a range of #READY2020 workshops to build business resilience. 14 workshops will take place across Essex throughout February and March, covering cyber security, investment readiness, creating a strategy, cash flow forecasting, leadership, manufacturing, wholesale and retail. Also the BEST Growth Hub Business Show 2020 will be held at Hylands House on 27 February. To find out further details and book a free ticket please visit eventbrite. I would also encourage businesses to remind staff, where appropriate, about applying or the EU Settlement Scheme - more information can be found here

You may well be aware that BEST are also able to help businesses secure business capital to enable them to grow and should be among your first points of contact when considering investment and business support.  In addition, the "Let's Do Business Group" are launching a new Loan product aimed at bridging the gap between secured bank debt and equity - enabling SMEs to access funds. Loans initially up to £100,000 can be funded  Inquiries should be directed to Dave Watson ACIB Invest Essex Business Manager on 07526 171257. 

The Lower Thames Crossing team are again asking for your feedback. At the end of 2018 almost 29,000 people shared their views on their proposals and as a result they are now proposing a number of design changes based on the feedback and from further information where it has become available.

This crossing is vital to the Southend and South Essex Economy so it is important for you to consider these changes and to have your say. The changes include:

•           M2/A2, including the junction with the Lower Thames Crossing
•           Southern tunnel entrance
•           Removal of the rest and service area and Tilbury junction
•           A13/A1089 junction
•           Number of lanes southbound between M25 and A13 junctions

Click here to view changes. To have your say, click here for more information and to access the response form – which will take a few minutes to complete. In addition, the Lower Thames Crossing Supply Chain School,  in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses Essex and Basildon Council, will host an event on Wednesday 26 February at New Holland to present to local businesses a wide range of opportunities associated with the Lower Thames Crossing Project. For further details or to book a free ticket please visit eventbrite.

Please be aware that changes to Business Rates will come into effect from 1 April 2020. Changes cover retail discount, local newspapers and pub relief etc. If you have any questions, please check the website or contact the business rates team at Southend on Sea Borough Council.

The Council supports a number of young people in care and has recently consulted with them on the process. One thing they have talked about that would improve the process of going into care would be a simple starter pack containing some comforting items to help the transition into care. The contents would not cost a huge amount of money but will make a massive difference to these young people. If your business is interested in supporting these young people then please contact the care team for more information by clicking here

Finally, a date for the diary, Southend Rugby Football Club is inviting you to their 150th Year Celebration Dinner with Dancing evening on Trafalgar Day 21 October 2020 at the Cliffs Pavilion.  Tickets cost £65. If you are interested in attending please click here to email Mark Dowdeswell or call 078877 27262/01702 546682.

With best regards,

Muuray Foster

Chairman of the Southend Business Partnership