Hertfordshire countryside

Overseas businesses continue to invest in Hertfordshire

Costco, HTT and Heptares Therapeutics were among the companies investing in Hertfordshire last year, creating hundreds of jobs.

New figures from the Department for International Trade show that foreign investment into Hertfordshire soared 38% over the past year.

A total of 22 foreign investment projects led to the creation of hundreds of jobs during the financial year of 2016/2017, the figures show.

These investments were secured across three key sectors: healthcare and medical, B2B software and computer services, and business and consumer services.

New investment and expansion projects made up a significant majority of the total inward investment, at 59% and 32% respectively, reaffirming Hertfordshire’s reputation as an attractive place for business.

Expansions include Costco in Watford, HTT in Hemel Hempstead and Heptares Therapeutics, now owned by Japanese firm Sosei, in Welwyn Garden City.

Firms bringing new investment into the county include Tusk Therapeutics and the Gowan Group, with the former establishing an office at the Stevenage BioScience Catalyst and the latter at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, both recipients of Growth Deal funding secured by Hertfordshire LEP.

Juli Jessen, CEO of the Gowan Group, said: "Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise presents an exceptional opportunity for us to find a home that fits our 'muddy boots' culture and we are excited to be surrounded by innovators in agriculture."

This year’s inward investment to Hertfordshire has ensured that 480 new jobs have been created and a further 112 jobs safeguarded. On a national level, foreign businesses accounted for 2,265 investment projects this financial year, securing 108,000 new or safeguarded jobs.

According to the DIT, the UK attracts the most inward investment in Europe, with technology, renewable energy, life sciences and creative industries all being sectors that have experienced an increase in the number of projects.

Paul Witcombe, Hertfordshire LEP enterprise and innovation manager, added: “We are very pleased with these figures which show that we are playing to our key strengths, particularly in relation to medical and agri-tech research with both Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise welcoming new tenants."