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17th September 2015 - Press Release

Powerful new business team to champion Dover

A powerful new business group, whose members employ nearly 6,000 people, will fight Dover's corner to boost economic growth.

Dover Business Forum, an alliance of the district’s biggest companies, is the brainchild of the Port of Dover.

The group has been created to work alongside Kent-wide business interests, including the district and county councils, to champion Dover’s commercial potential.

Tim Waggott, the Port of Dover’s chief executive, said: “Dover is a place to celebrate, to do business in and invest in.  The forum, with its 26 members to date, will tell the rest of the world the great news about the business and investment opportunities currently in Dover as well as those on the horizon.

“We need to focus on enhancing the skills, training and employment opportunities for the people who live here, and this is a core belief of the group.”

A survey of the forum, responded to by 16 members, shows it has a combined turnover in excess of £386m and an annual wage bill of more than £30m.

Those responding to the survey have collectively invested £399m in the district over the past five years. And further millions are earmarked for the district through the development of St James’s, Dover Western Docks Revival, Whitfield, Discovery Park and Betteshanger Sustainable Parks.

The survey also highlighted members’ views on the key issues facing Dover. Recruiting skilled employees is considered the biggest challenge, followed by roads and infrastructure and the overall perception of Dover.

Forum member, Dieter Jaenicke, chairman of Viking Recruitment, said: “With the survey showing that 26 per cent of those who responded are export-related businesses it demonstrates that Dover is a 360 degree economy and the group will play to the economic strengths of the area.

“It will promote the cause of companies involved in freight and logistics, maritime-related activities, food production, and manufacturing, as well as tourism, leisure and retail.”

The forum’s membership has adopted a strong local purchasing policy, with 25 per cent looking to source goods and services from Dover, and 44 per cent from across Kent. 

Cllr Paul Watkins, leader of Dover District Council, said: “We welcome the new group and look forward to working with it to attract investment, new jobs, and generate economic success, alongside our Invest in Dover team.  The forum is another demonstration of local partners working together to deliver a shared vision for Dover.”


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