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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Enterprise hub will encourage more businesses to Maidstone

21 December 2013
by Kent Messenger reporter

That was the decision by borough council bosses this week to establish a centre costing between £1.3m and £1.5m.

The former Post Office could become the HQ of the trade hub

The former Post Office could become the HQ of the trade hub

A report before them revealed Maidstone continues to have one of the lowest business start-up rates in Kent, with more business ‘deaths’ than ‘births.’

Latest available figures show the trend is continuing. In 2009, 610 new ventures took off, with 785 ending. The following year it was 640 compared to 665 and in 2011 670 businesses failed with 650 starting.

The enterprise hub was agreed by council cabinet members on Wednesday. It will now go before Kent County Council in the form of a shared bid, with Maidstone contributing £700,000 from its capital programme and the remainder coming from the regional authority.

If the bid is unsuccessful, Maidstone council says it would consider funding the project in its entirety, through a combination of grant and commercial loans.

Site for the hub, that aims to create a buzzing centre giving access to shared office facilities, will be the former post office in King Street.

At present many small businesses working from home are often isolated and miss out on networking opportunities and collaboration, say experts.

A separate report before the authority said it faced challenges on how its services were delivered, along with increased pressures to generate income. It states: “We know that in 2014/15 government funding will reduce by at least 11.5% or £900,000.

“The council still needs to identify £550,000 of savings for 2014/15.”

Leader Chris Garland said the council’s financial position remained strong, with balances of some £3.6 million.

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