Kent Science Park, now home to 80 hi-tech businesses, was described as "the jewel in the South East crown" at a skills and careers event at the Sittingbourne park.
Cllr Mike Cosgrove, Swale Council's portfolio holder for finance and performance, learning and skills, said he didn't think it possible to over-estimate its importance.
"We are in a global economy and Kent Science Park and the companies within it have got massive outreach," he said. "The future is looking really bright for Swale, and Kent Science Park is the jewel in the South East crown."
Thames Gateway skills envoy Sir David Melville and BBC South East news presenter Rob Smith were among the 2,000 people who attended the event, organised by the Education Business Partnership and Swale Borough Council.
Visitors, including many students, were able to try their hand at drug discovery and microbiology at the state-of-the-art working laboratories at the Kent Science Resource Centre (KSRC).
More than 80 stands at the adjacent Woodstock Club were available to explore other industries, including the Wirebelt Company, EDF Energy, NHS, Thomas Cook, Morrisons, Denne Construction and the Prison Service.
Demonstrations and interactive stands from local small businesses involved ranged from beauty therapy and how to change the wheel of a car to puzzle solving and how to become a photographer.
Sir David Melville said: "We want to raise the aspirations of the youngsters here to get the best possible education so they go onto further education or university and come back to work in Swale."