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Rising to New Challenges - SEEDA meets tough economic times with long term business support strategy

30 October 2008

Businesses in the South East, which are being hit by the first ever global financial crisis, can start preparing now to take advantage of the opportunities which will appear when the upturn arrives, said Pam Alexander, SEEDA Chief Executive, today (Thursday) at SEEDA's Annual Open Public Meeting.

"If we can overcome the current challenges, long term prospects for the South East remain good," she said.

"The South East remains the UK 's largest manufacturing region by value of output while South East businesses export more than businesses in any other region and also lead the way in opening up new markets such as renewable energy."

Jim Brathwaite, SEEDA's chairman, said: "We have listened carefully to local business people to understand what is happening on the ground. Right now our priority is to help businesses ride out the storm, prepare for tougher times, and emerge stronger for the upturn. We will be helping small businesses through improved Business Link services, through brokering deals, bringing in investment, avoiding redundancies, and helping businesses innovate. We have a multitude of resources and contacts that can help businesses to stay successful, and we intend to use them all. I am confident that SEEDA can make even more of a positive difference in tough times than it has in good times."

Reporting on the 2007/8 financial year, SEEDA significantly exceeded nearly all its core targets. It has:

  •  Invested £196m
  • Created and safeguarded over 7,500 jobs
  • Assisted more than 12,600 people to get a job
  • Helped to improve nearly 56,800 businesses
  • Helped create nearly 5,000 businesses in the region
  • Assisted over 53,000 people in skills development
  • Developed over 80 hectares of brownfield land
  • Levered 53% private sector funds, against a target of 50%
  • Levered £180m public and private funds into the South East.


SEEDA has recently launched a £10 million package of support for businesses which includes:

  •  New funding to help more firms export to new markets
  • Further funds to meet demand for the Manufacturing Advisory Service
  • Extension of the Grant for Business Investment Scheme (previously the Selective Finance for Investment scheme) to all eligible small and medium sized firms across the region
  • New £3 million commercialisation fund to help businesses taking good ideas to market.

Business Link is geared up across the South East to offer health checks to every SME and SEEDA will meet the Government commitment to pay invoices within 10 days.

The Regional Minister Jonathan Shaw also announced at the Open Meeting the formation of the South East Economic Delivery Council to support the Government and SEEDA in addressing the current economic challenges.

For further information contact:

SEEDA Communications

Tel: 01483 42420

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