What is it like to run a business in Kent? What does the county offer creative and digital businesses?
Having lived and breathed Kent’s business community for over 16 years, Dan Maudhub, Founder and Managing Director at Be Wonderful shares his story of how Kent is the right destination for creative and digital businesses looking to grow and succeed.
In the ever-increasing digital world, Be Wonderful makes digitalisation easier to incorporate into business operations, whether that be via UX design, product development, building new web platform, integrating CRM or digital marketing. They pride themselves on solving complex problems by delivering wonderfully simple solutions.
“I’ve spent my whole businesses career in Kent. From living here, going to university here and then setting up the business here. Right from the start, Kent had an offering that was really strong for the business and has continued to be invaluable to us today.
“There is a fantastic business community here that has always supported each other. From councils, government projects and charitable organisations – it’s very easy to connect to the right people, access funding and be a part of Interreg schemes and knowledge exchange programmes.”
There are many layers that contribute to Kent’s creative and digital sector success, including staples like connectivity, social activities and facilities, but also its geographical location as a place to be heard, as Dan shares: “A lot of our clients are based outside of Kent, so when they look at where we are they can see a progressive location that’s innovating – this makes us extremely attractive to them.”
There has been a sharp rise of co-working spaces emerge over recent years, with these environments allowing for businesses to collaborate and develop new ideas. Located out of Wonderhub in Maidstone, Dan and his team has seen how powerful hub working can be.
“It’s been brilliant from many different perspectives – ultimately you get to meet people who influence you and make you think differently. Being a part of a wider creative and digital community has been hugely helpful to our business.”
And it’s not just co-working spaces that sparks creativity as Dan explains: “Kent also has a broad creative economy, and it allows us to work with local educations establishments like University for the Creative Arts, Mid Kent College, and Canterbury Christ Church. Pairing this with Kent’s talented pool of freelancers, we have benefitted from outsourcing work to these creative communities – which has been absolutely vital for us as a business – and we’re able to access the fresh talent coming through.”
Location has always been an important factor to any business. For Kent, it benefits from having a competitive offering that has been proven to challenge those in London and further afield. “Costs in London are significantly higher, from business overheads to travel to staffing – we have benefitted from Kent being so cost effective without missing out on anything.
“I think there is also a perception that London agencies are the best and those regionally are almost second rate, but that perception has gone. Particularly since the pandemic as clients are seeing people work out of hubs or their homes and not in a corporate office – I think it’s safe to say that London barrier has been broken.”
When it comes to relocation, there are many factors to take into account. One being to understand the local community you’re moving into. Inward investment agencies, like Locate in Kent have the services, expert advisors and experience to guide businesses through the stages to set up and grow.
Over the years Be Wonderful has been very engaged with Locate in Kent, as Dan shares: “They are hugely important to Kent’s economy, both practically and strategically, making sure that investors are aware that is a great place to live, work and play, and that Kent is being recognised as a premier business location across the UK and globally. This offers businesses looking to move a fantastic starting base to make a difference to their business straight off the bat.”