On the 9th November I was presented with this Google e-town award for East Grinstead.
The award was presented to those towns which have generated the highest growth in online commerce activity, driven by local businesses.
East Grinstead came 16th out of 700 towns and cities across the whole of the UK, with almost 24% growth over the last year. This is a powerful indicator that the Town’s entrepreneurial online businesses are indeed boosting our local growth, something that is very important to us here.
Google specifically earmarked the St James’s Dental Practice in East Grinstead as being one of the best performing businesses locally and I am therefore delighted to welcome here this afternoon, Dr Irene Curtis who is the Clinical Lead at St James’s and her daughter Catriona Neville the Practice Manager.
It has always been my firm belief that East Grinstead is a town that given a bit more self-confidence and sense of direction could make a fantastic success of its unexploited assets.
I hope that East Grinstead and its energetic and entrepreneurial people will embrace the astonishing commercial value of the internet which is now in the UK home to the largest per capita e-commerce market and the second largest online-advertising market globally. By 2015, the internet will probably account for about 10% of the UK’s GDP.
I think East Grinstead has a great deal to be proud of and I am delighted to represent an area with such potential growth and I hope this award will encourage other businesses to get, and grow, online.
My ambitions for East Grinstead and Mid Sussex are; that they should be part of a European and global hub attracting the new technologies such as nano-technology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing, research and development, education, design, entertainment, not forgetting financial services, tourism and specialist engineering to name a few.
I therefore have the greatest pleasure to present the Google e-town award, originally presented to me on behalf of East Grinstead, to the Leader of the East Grinstead Town Council, Norman Webster, who together with his colleagues and our colleagues in Mid Sussex District Council are energetically pursuing growth, opportunity and prosperity for East Grinstead.