AN £8million state-of-the-art business complex at the heart of Southend Airport Business Park is now almost 50 per cent full as a series of companies move in.

The aptly-named Launchpad allows new business to operate under one roof, boosting the Southend economy and increasing jobs.

Businesses taking up residence in include Duca del Cosma - golf shoes and accessories, Hivedome - commodity trading software, Legacy Strategies - HR/recruitment with a social value fund, Pretty Perfect Products - stationery and organisational products, Business Innovation Group - supporting businesses to access R&D funding, 3D Fila Print - 3D design and printing.

A business showcase and launch event, “Launchpad in Orbit”, was a “celebration of entrepreneurialism” with more than 120 entrepreneurs, businesses and support services attending last week. The event also provided an opportunity to raise £655 for Southend homeless charity, the One Love Project.

Georgina Roffey, centre manager at Launchpad, said: “Launchpad is all about collaboration and community so it was brilliant to be able to bring everyone together to celebrate the success so far of all the businesses that are based here.

“We take our commitment to boost local business and the economy very seriously.

“Thank you to everyone that attended and took part in the raffle for their commitment to a bright future for Southend and for helping to raise much-needed funds for the One Love Project.”

The Launchpad has been funded by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership local growth fund. It is the first building to “champion real innovation” in the area for start-ups and small to medium enterprises. The three-storey building has a mix of offices, workshops, research facilities along with a cafe and seminar space.

The 52-acre business park, adjacent to Southend Airport, is being delivered in partnership between HBD and Southend Council. It hosts aircraft seat manufacturer Ipeco.

James Moyies, Southend deputy councillor responsible for economic growth and investment, said: “The success of Launchpad in Orbit reflects our commitment to nurturing a thriving business community in Southend.

“Launchpad is a beacon of opportunity, driving economic growth and investment in our region. We look forward to the positive impact it will continue to have on our community.”