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New businesses are thriving in the Thames Gateway, with the occupancy rate at the CEME Innovation Centre in Dagenham reaching 99 per cent.

Located near the Ford car factory and in the heart of the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence’s (CEME) campus, the Innovation Centre provides high-spec offices and workshops for around 40 new and growing companies.

Oxford Innovation took over management of the centre in December 2008.

Kelly Brooker-Campbell, centre manager, said: ‘We are able to put people in touch with other business services, including credit control and help with short-term finance when required.

‘It is in these areas that start-up businesses sometimes struggle.

‘We’ve recognised that and established contacts for our clients to help them through tough times,’ she added.

One growing company that has taken space at the centre is Electrol, which provides training courses for the electrical contracting industry.

‘The CEME Innovation Centre has helped our business go from strength to strength.

‘The opportunity to benefit from the facilities offered here, at no additional cost and without committing to a long-term lease, was not to be missed,’ said John Orr, director of Electrol.

Several of the newer occupiers gained referrals from companies already located at the centre.

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