Gravesham is a remarkably diverse area with a strong ethnic flavour and an enterprising mix of a rural and town centred business community.
The area is moving apace with ongoing regeneration and has a healthy local business base comprising 3200 registered businesses of which 80 per cent employ less than 10 people. There is also a 650-member strong business support network offering regular workshops. These awards have showcased this enthusiasm producing outstanding finalists and winners.
Sitting alongside the smaller firms are sizeable national and international firms such as Comma Oil & Chemicals Ltd, Kimberly Clark, Rodenstock, and Britannia Refined Metals (part of Glencore).
The River Thames plays an important role and enables Gravesham to enjoy a unique 11km waterfront with a long-standing maritime connection. The Port of London Authority's main offices are based in the town and much of the area's deep-water wharfage is used to transport commercial materials.
A new pontoon off the Town Pier provides modern facilities to receive visiting leisure craft from London or those coming upriver from the North Sea and Continental Europe.
Direct High Speed 1 services from Gravesend Railway Station to London St Pancras bring Gravesend closer than any other Kent town to the Capital and further north by rail and with a journey time of 22 minutes, this is faster than areas in Zones 3 to 6 of the London underground system. There is also a regular Southeastern rail service to Charing Cross, Luton including the airport and down connecting to the Channel ports of Dover and Ramsgate.
Companies that have chosen Gravesend due to the area's locational advantages and deep wharfage facilities include Lafarge Cement UK Ltd, Brett Aggregates, Stena Shipping, Britannia Refined Metals (part of Glencore) and leading tug operator Svitzer Towage.
A £2 million refurbishment of the Riverside Leisure Area to the east of Gravesend Town Centre has been completed. The Port of London has its main headquarters in the Town contributing to the £150 million that river-related business brings into the local economy per year and the 1543 jobs it directly supports.
The borough is as diverse and cosmopolitan as its people and central to its new Heritage Quarter is the Borough Market, offering a wealth of interesting, creative market traders. Tourism plays a vital role in the area with historic links across the Atlantic and to Charles Dickens.
Major plans are underway for a new garden city at Ebbsfleet that will link into the existing transport links not only to most of the UK by rail, but to Europe with Eurostar. rail line running through the station.