Young, Female and Ambitious? Go to Eastbourne

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A recent study by Duport.co.uk has shown that Eastbourne had the UK’s highest percentage of young director appointments and female director appointments during 2012. Does this mean the image of the town is changing?

Eastbourne Pier

A younger, more diverse business community will help Eastbourne grow in unexpected ways, leading to a more vibrant, exciting town in years to come.

Often thought of as a seaside haven for the older generation, a new study suggests Eastbourne is becoming a hub for young business people, and business women in particular.

According to a research by company formation specialists, Duport.co.uk, Eastbourne had the highest percentage of female director appointments in the UK last year. It also had the highest number of director appointments under the age of 25 – surprising statistics for a town often associated with the “grey pound”.

The most recent census of Eastbourne showed that the town is gaining young residents. In 2011, 15 – 29 year-olds made up 18.5% of the population, compared to 16.5% in 2001. Could it be that the area is starting to shed its image as a sleepy seaside resort for the over-60s? The local authority have certainly been working hard to re-brand the town with events such as the Eastbourne Extreme sports festival, which features surfing, skate-boarding and power kiting – all designed to attract younger visitors.

Then there’s the Towner – a contemporary art gallery that’s also designed to draw in a younger demographic. Opened in 2009, it has links with the Tate and the largest display space in South East England. The gallery’s aim of making “outstanding art available to as wide an audience as possible” seems to be succeeding, with over 10,000 visitors a year.

And, there is more to come. Last year saw the borough council approve a £70 million scheme to transform the face of Eastbourne. Exact details have yet to be nailed down, but ongoing regeneration of the area could be what is attracting young people. And, the business opportunities provided by a burgeoning tourist trade may be part of the reason behind a growing number of young, and indeed female, company directors.

Managing Director of Duport.co.uk, Peter Valaitis comments on the statistics:

“The results seen in our league tables reflect the fact that Eastbourne is changing. A surge in young and female directors will help bring fresh ideas to the local business community, giving the local economy a new lease of life.

“A younger, more diverse business community will help Eastbourne grow in unexpected ways, leading to a more vibrant, exciting town in years to come.”

The full results of the Duport research can be viewed at http://www.duport.co.uk/confidence-reports/town-league.php.

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Tom Valaitis