Braintree District Council is set to receive £7 million to create an enterprise centre on the new Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park which could generate 150 jobs a year, it has been announced.

The new enterprise centre is 1 of 34 projects across the South East region which will receive a share of the £85 million allocated to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership from the Government’s new ‘Getting Building Fund.’ The centre will be a place where businesses can collaborate, access support and advice and build-up knowledge and skills. The building will offer shared meeting rooms, flexible work spaces, training facilities and offices for smaller businesses to grow into providing an exciting new addition to the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park.

The £85 million allocated from the Getting Building Fund will support a wide range of projects across the South East region aimed at giving local economies a boost in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus public health crisis. The funding will back (amongst other things) the creation of new homes, commercial spaces, transport systems and the development of new skills facilities and programmes. It will also fund new cycling routes in Essex supporting the ambition for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys.

Authorities across the region were invited to bid for a share of the £85 million to support individual projects in their areas. Braintree District Council secured £7 million out of the pot to create an enterprise centre on the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park which will support local start-ups as well as help small businesses innovate, develop and grow.

The project is expected to create at least 150 new jobs a year. This is over and above the 60 jobs needed for construction and the jobs needed to enable the effective management of the centre.

The building work on the new enterprise centre is expected to start early next year. The creation of this centre will be in addition to the new hub for construction innovation (I-Construct) soon to be built on the Springwood industrial estate.

Leader of Braintree District Council, Cllr Graham Butland said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been awarded this money to build a new state-of-the-art enterprise centre at our exciting new Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park which will help small businesses not only bounce back from this crisis, but innovate, grow and thrive. The creation of this facility as well as the new hub for construction innovation at Springwood shows that we are committed to supporting innovative businesses, creating more quality jobs and generating the stimulus needed to get our economy back on track and into recovery.”

South East Local Enterprise Partnership Chair, Christian Brodie said: “We are delighted that government has recognised the excellent projects and potential that the South East has to drive forward our economy at this challenging time. These projects have been carefully selected to target those areas and industries particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and those that can progress, at pace, to support economic recovery. The South East LEP has a proven track record of delivering successful projects and has been working really closely with our local areas to understand what our businesses need and where investment will have significant impact.

“Over the last few months, we as a LEP have been providing support to local businesses. Our Growth Hubs have been providing advice to struggling businesses and directing businesses to funding support. We have also been reworking our own existing funding pots to create new COVID-19 funds for businesses, infrastructure investment and skills training.

“We truly believe that the South East will help lead the country out of the crisis and into recovery. The Getting Building Fund provides the next phase of financial stimulus to restart our economy.”