Businesses put ‘Ideas into Action’ at Essex 2020 launchpad event

People in front of a thing

Essex’s creative, tech and science companies came together to discover how to get involved in the county’s biggest ever celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) at the Essex 2020 business launchpad event, held at Hylands House, Chelmsford on 25 November.

More than 90 Essex businesses including Teledyne, Google and Tech East attended the event where they heard first-hand about opportunities for partnerships and investments to boost innovation and STEAM skills in the region.

Speaking at the event, Professor Trevor Cross, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Quantum Technologies at Teledyne e2v, a world leader in developing cutting-edge technologies, said

Advancements which were once just science fiction are now a reality and there are huge opportunities for even greater progress. Like many other sectors, technology is suffering from a shortage of skilled people at all levels. We are in the process of redeveloping part of our Chelmsford facility to create a base for like-minded companies and academia to work together to help solve some of the challenges industry faces and capitalise on the opportunities. It’s a great time for collaboration across our county and Essex 2020 will provide an excellent platform to encourage this further.

The Ideas into Action event gave business leaders the opportunity to pitch their own ideas to the 12-month programme of STEAM activities and to pledge their support.

One of those to do so was The Hive enterprise centre in Southend (a co-working space and business hub), which sees Essex 2020 as a big opportunity to create a legacy for its collaboration, community and skills work, promoting Southend as ‘Tech City on Sea’, with a view to working across the whole South Essex area.

Speaking at the event, Richard Freeman, CEO of always possible and project director for Essex 2020, said

There is a huge amount of ingenuity and creativity across the county but currently, much of this is not joined up or shouted about. STEAM is crucial, not only to the future of our economy but to that of our people and environment. By launching Essex 2020, we are providing a platform for the collaboration and investment needed to help boost STEAM education in Essex, not just throughout next year but for many years to come.

Alongside the British Science Festival (which Anglia Ruskin University will host in September), Essex 2020 marks several important milestones for Essex, from the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s pioneering telecommunications and 400 years since The Mayflower left Harwich, to the engineers and entrepreneurs now designing AI, smart cities and cameras for space travel far beyond 2020.

Attending businesses at ‘Ideas into Action’ also heard from key speakers including Michaela Neild, External Affairs Manager for Google UK, a partner in the newly formed Digital Skills Partnership with South East Local Enterprise Partnership; Tim Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at Tech East; Ros Green from the Essex Book Festival which takes place in March 2020 and Professor David Humber, President of Chelmsford Science & Engineering Society.

Essex 2020 has been created by Essex Partners, comprising public, private, charity and education organisations dedicated to improving the county of Essex.