Essex In Business

Welcome to the Essex in Business web site : an introduction to the county of Essex and its business and economic activities.

Business in Essex is dominated by the service sector, which accounts for 70% of the county's total value added. Industry accounts for 28%, and agriculture for just 2%.

Industry in Essex is concentrated in the south and west of the county. Harlow is a centre for electronics, and pharmaceutical companies. Chelmsford has long historical connections with the fallen giant Marconi. Two of the major techinical breakthrouhgs in the last 100 years in comunications happenned in Essex. Harlow is the birthplace of optical fibre, and Chelmsford is the birthplace of radio.

Brentwood is home to the Ford Motor Company's European HQ.

Chelmsford, the county town, has been an important location for electronics companies since the electronics industry was born. Nowadays the service sector is more important, and it is home to a wide range of insurance and financial services organisations.

Colchester has a similar mix of light industry and service business to Chelmsford. The presence of the University of Essex on the outskirts of the town brings in students to the town, and has produced some spin-off businesses. Its local economy is also boosted by its status a garrison town, which brings a large number of of army personnel to the town.

For many years Southend's economy was based on tourism, supported by the easy access to the town by rail from London. As the traditional British sea-side summer holiday has declined efforts have been made to re-focus the town as a commercial centre. Service industries such as Visa, and government departments such as as H. M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are now major employers in the town.

The Future

Local businesses hoped that the 2012 Olympics, although outside the county, would generate increased economic activity. The dire general economic conditions put paid to this hope.

A more realistic expectation is that the continued growth of traffic through Stansted Airport will bring increased economic activity. There is talk, but little action, about the M11 corridor linking Cambridge and London becoming a high-tec hotspot.

Essex University

The University of Essex, based at Wivenhoe Park on the outskirts of Colchester, received its Royal Charter in 1965. It is one of the UK's leading academic institutions and has an international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching.

The university has formed a number of successful partnerships and companies to commercially develop its research.

There are currently over 7000 students at the University, from more than 130 countries, roughly 20% of these being post-graduates.

Famous Essex Alumni

Famous Essex alumni include BBC foreign correspondent Brian Hanrahan; the President of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr Oscar Arias and Booker Prize Winner, Ben Okri.

The Southend Campus

The university is extending from its Wivenhoe base to start a new campus in Southend. In January 2007 the first brand new state-of-the-art building was opened, in the middle of Southend town centre.

Transport in Essex

Essex is fortunate in having good connections to the financial centre of London, as well as air and sea connections abroad.


London Stansted Airport, in the north west of the county, is a major UK airport serving destinations in Europe and North America; Southend Airport s undergoing redevelopment and has limited passenger flights to destinations such as the Channel Islands. It's rebranding as "London Southend Airport" has met a sceptical response.


The port of Tilbury is one of Britain's major ports, and carries mainly container traffic. The smaller port of Harwich has several ferry services which links Essex to the Hook of Holland and Esbjerg.


The M25 motorway crosses Essex east to west, and the M11 motorway cross the county north to south. The A12 and A13 trunk roads are important radial routes from London. The A12 links London to Colchester and Chelmsford : The A13 runs to Southend. The M25 is being expanded to 4 lanes, to cope with the increasing congestion in peak times.

Public transport

There is an extensive public transport network, which at times struggles to keep up with demand.. The main rail routes include three lines from London to Southend-on-Sea the Great Eastern Main Line and the West Anglia Main Line. The London Underground's Central Line serves Epping. Work is also continuing to increase the capacity of the rail network, which is always overloaded in peak comuter hours.

Expats Destination of Choice : Essex

The destination of choice for ex-pats moving into the UK is Essex, according to a survey by expat specialist site Expatify ( The reasons it gives include the diverse cultural scene, the variety of things to do and, the closeness to London for jobs.

Selected Essex Businesses

Harlow Employment Agency

Harlow employment agency Top Flight Personnel provide recruitment agency services from their town-centre offices. Their web site was recently re-developed to include an online database of Harlow job vacancies.

Scaffold Towers

Scaffold towers for sale, lease and for hire.

MOT and Tyres in Harlow

MOT and Tyres in Harlow, plus Car Servicing, Exhausts and repairs. Quality work at value prices.

BBC News For Essex

A rail operator says £30m is being spent on trains amid claims of "flea infested" seats and filthy travelling conditions.
Southend United hold an open-top bus parade to celebrate promotion to League One after the play-off final at Wembley.
A lifeboat crew rescues a man who was stuck in the mud in the River Colne as the tide was rising.
A rise in visitors to Grayson Perry's Essex dream house forces neighbours to put up a home-made road sign.
An Essex father-of-three is charged over the Hatton Garden jewellery raid in London.
A 4.2 magnitude earthquake recorded in Kent by the British Geological Survey (BGS) is felt by people living in Essex.
A man is given a suspended jail term and banned from keeping poultry for five years after 6,000 chickens died in soaring heat at his Essex farm.
A group of black students in Leicester claim they were refused entry to a nightclub "because they were black".