Future looks bright for Chelmsford as Showcase celebrates 10th year in style


The Chelmsford Business Showcase attracted a sizeable crowd to Hylands House on Wednesday (November 14) to celebrate the thriving business community of England’s newest city.

Approximately 60 trade stands were in operation around the estate, including a themed food and drink section, with Chelmsford Star Co-op bringing along exhibitors from its ‘Made in Essex’ campaign alongside a number of businesses supported by inward investment and business support agency Invest ESSEX.

As well as supporting Meilleur Coffee (iced coffee), Davina Steel (gluten-free bread and baking kits), Hoppily (craft beer) and Phoenix Smokery (specialists in smoked artisan foods) Invest ESSEX was also well-represented elsewhere at the showcase.

Milk Bikes and Vanity Flair (who specialise in restoring and repurposing antique, vintage, retro and modern furniture) were prominently situated in the Entrance Hall. 

Meanwhile Vision Co-Working Spaces was located in the Pavilion. Invest ESSEX and Vision have forged a close working relationship in 2018, with the business support agency providing advice to some of the latter’s occupants as well as attracting new tenants such as the leading construction and property company Willmott Dixon. 

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Davina Steel, which plans to add a bakery to its portfolio in the new future, took full advantage of mixing with the local business community.

Director Davina Steel said: “We had a fabulous day at the Chelmsford Business Showcase – a fantastic event and location. We met so many interesting people: gluten-free customers, buyers, suppliers, those offering grants and assistance and we had the support from the Invest ESSEX team, which is always really appreciated. The icing on the cake was being introduced to a key buyer from a well-known multiple retailer who is keen to stock our products.”

The Chelmsford Business Board Annual Briefing got the 10th year of the event underway, overseen by Chairman David Rayner, before Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Yvonne Spence, officially opened the event.

Presentations at the Briefing included details from Highways England on the planned Lower Thames Crossing and A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening scheme.

The Lower Thames Crossing, due to start work in 2021 and open in 2027, will be a major new road linking Kent, Thurrock and Essex. At 2.5 miles long it will be the longest road tunnel in the UK.

Chief Executive at Chelmsford City Council, Nick Eveleigh, then outlined growth plans for the city, with a rise in population expected from 170,000 to 200,000 by 2036 – leading to increases in jobs along with 11,000 new homes. 

Among other developments is a £35m leisure centre opening next year, an 85,000 metre business park and the new railway station in Boreham, just outside Chelmsford. Beaulieu station will improve rail travel times between London and Norwich and is scheduled to open in 2025.

Emily CorleyComment