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Business Overview

Ashford currently provides something for every business in terms of sector placement, supply chain opportunities and a well established community of businesses.

All this is supported by Ashford's excellent transport networks and expanding opportunities as part of its growth. Ashford has the capacity to attract a broad range of occupiers from different sectors with a diverse range of requirements; large, small, town centre, fringe or out-of-town.

Headline companies

Coty Rimmel UK Ltd, Brakes, Givaudan (formerly Quest International UK Ltd), Eurostar and Hitachi.

Top companies in Ashford.

Number of companies

5,000 businesses. Nearly a fifth (17%) of the small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the borough felt that their local area had become a better place to do business over the last 12 months, compared with the south east average of 9%. The number of businesses almost doubled between 1998 and 2005 - a growth rate of 29% in comparison to the whole of the South East (16%).

Key sectors and trends

The strengths of the current Ashford business profile are in the following broad areas: specialist manufacturing, construction, retail, transport and distribution and business services.

Ashford’s (road) transport links provide a competitive advantage in the wholesale and distribution sector, with relative strengths in employment in wholesale (particularly food wholesale), storage and packaging.

Banking, finance and insurance sector (including business services) is the largest broad sector in terms of business establishments.

Business services is a growing sector locally, regionally and nationally and it is an important employment sector within Ashford.

Opportunities for the future will come from the relocation of activities from higher cost locations in London and the south east.

Consumer access to London / Europe

360 million