Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Last week, Tec 66 came to Sussex Coast College showcasing the brilliant Vacuum and Photonics Technology featuring leading  world renowned speakers covering organic semi-conductors which can make thin transparent indestructible OLED TV and Phone screens.

Also the remarkable Graphene which is pure carbon in the form of a very thin, nearly transparent sheet, one atom thick.  It is remarkably strong for its very low weight (100 times stronger than steel)  and it conducts heat and electricity with great efficiency.

Tec66 (271 of 320)

On a Star Wars theme the topic of Photonics into the 21st Century including the development of photonic super computers and power transmission by lasers both on earth and in space – can you imagine light being beamed down to the earth from the moon to create energy??There was also an amazing overview of Cryogenics – no, not the use of it in Demolition Man!! but the study of the production and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures (below −150 °C, −238 °F or 123 K) which is used in all manner of commercial applications.

The Keynote Speaker was Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Rocket Scientist) and Patrick Moore’s successor to TV’s Sky at Night. Maggie explains the whole subject of Space and Science in such an exciting and easy to understand way, I wish she had been my Science teacher as I feel I’ve missed out on something amazing all around us.

Maggie is working on a project to build an aircraft that can fly into space – can you imagine it! It even looks like a Star Wars x-wing fighter so maybe all the sci- fi we have watched over the years is actually not so far out after all! I remember her telling me with the brightest of eyes that there are 200 billion stars in our own galaxy and over 100 billion galaxies across the Universe.

Maggie kindly stayed the whole weekend in Hastings and presented at the Science day at Sussex Coast for up to 200 local school pupils to encourage them to consider Science & Technology careers.

Tec 66 was brilliantly Chaired by Doyen of the Industry Tim Pearce CEO of Kurt J Lesker Co Ltd based in Hastings. Kurt Lesker and local Hastings companies are already making components for the Curiosity Probe on Mars shown above and a hu

ge number of Science based projects.

The Tec 66 technology workshops were filmed on the day, so if you want to see and hear first- hand about these ground breaking science developments, please visit www.tec66.co.uk/

Posted by: In: Manufacturing, Tec 66 09 Jun 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

The Tec 66 Conference and Exhibition has just got a brand new website which has just launched and is already promoting and raising awareness of the popular High Vacuum and Photonics event.

Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Exhibition Review

This years Tec 66 is expected to be even bigger than the previous event.

The website is now live and tells visitors all about the event, who the speakers are and also how to register as either a delegate or an exhibitor for the event on the 27th October 2014 at Sussex Coast College, Hastings and we have been told that the site will get updates as more speakers are confirmed and more exhibitors reserve their place as well.

Here’s the link to the new Tec 66 website, www.tec66.co.uk. We do recommend having a look around the site.


Posted by: In: Tec 66 23 Apr 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , ,

Tec 66 ambassador Farah Cockerill visited the Arablab  exhibition in Dubai in March 2014 which has become the business and cultural hub of the Middle East. Farah  set up meetings with several businesses from Arabic companies to strengthen business links between East Sussex and the Middle East and to create business opportunities for the Tec 66 Vacuum & Photonics industry.


Tec 66 was well represented at Arablab.

A number of Arabic companies have now expressed interest in the Tec 66 Vacuum Cluster and requested more product information. A number of the companies stated that they would be interested in attending the Tec 66 Conference on October 27th 2014 which would also include visits to local Vacuum & Photonics companies.

This will strengthen links between two very different parts of the world and develop a much better understanding of both cultures and this kind of international exposure can only be a good thing for the region as whole as the vacuum and photonics cluster continues to expand in the Hastings and East Sussex.

This growing high technology manufacturing sector is putting the region on the map and could potentially attract manufacturers, investment and orders from all over the world.

Well that’s that, the festivities are over and its time to get back to work and what a start to the new year we have with a good old fashioned winter storm lashing the Hastings and Rother coast. We wouldn’t say that this is the shape of things to come, in fact quite the opposite. Here’s why 2014 will be a great time for businesses in the area and in general.

High growth expected

Business grants

Business grants are now available for businesses in the area.

We reported on this a couple of months ago however, we think that it worth mentioning again. Both the Bank of England (BoE) and  the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicting growth from 2.4 to 2.8% with reports also predicting upwards of 3% showing that things are finally on the up. This is great news for business all over the area and with more investment coming in to the country we hope that your business benefits from the boost in confidence.

Business Grants and funding return

If you’ve struggles and survived the worst financial crisis in a generation then this will be good news to hear. there are a number of funding initiatives such as the Success Fund for Creative businesses and the RBS Inspiring Enterprise Grants offering cash injections to business in the area along with funding available for local projects from the Safer in Sussex Community Fund . This is alongside industry specific funding and EU initiatives that have happened in the last year and will be happening again. We will of course keep you up to date to regarding funding at Business in Hastings. The best way to get the news first is to join our regular newsletter here.

The area is developing

The next phase of the Priory Quarter development open for business by around the autumn of 2014 with 47,000 sq ft of fantastic new office space for business that are growing and for new businesses that are moving here. If you are interested to know more then you can see the brochure here.  You can see the existing locations that are available here.

The long awaited redevelopment of Hastings Pier has already started, however in 2014 you should be able to really start to see the new pier taking shape. The pier once opened in 2015 will be a major beacon for visitors to the town who’s presence will have a benefit for the town and area  The resurrection of the pier will be seen by those in the area and more importantly across the country and internationally as a major sign that the town is back on the map (but we all knew that anyway).

creative media centre hastings

Hastings is growing and developing at a fast pace.

The bottleneck that is the coast road will still be congested in 2014, however, the new Bexhill bypass will be one more year closer to completion which once ready in 2017 will greatly increase traffic flow and take the pressure off the coast road up to Bexhill. Once completed it will be good for businesses of all kinds in the area. There are plans for a new office development in Sidley (north Bexhill) and on Queensway to coincide with this too adding yet more office and industrial units to the area.

Unemployment is falling

This is great news but does come with a small catch (or benefit if happen to be a saver).  First the really good news ,unemployment is falling faster than expected which is great news for those who are finding work. The other side of it is that interest rate rises are linked to falls in unemployment meaning that any loans or mortgages may incur higher interest payments, for those that are savers who have had to endure record low interest rates this will be great news. Either way, be aware as the target for this trigger any rise has already been brought forward as the economy recovers.

Tec 66 returns


Tec 66 returns in 2014

The first Tec 66 event held at the Sussex Exchange back in September 2013 was a great success and was a great way to make visitors aware of the hi-tec hub which Hastings & Rother is for the high photonic and vacuum technology industries . The event had visitors from all over the UK and from further afield and we will have more news on this great exhibition and conference soon.

Sport events should boost local sales and raise the areas feelgood factor.

2014 is going to be quite a big year for sport event based sales. Pubs, clubs and retailers should have an even bigger influx of business over the year. the big events that will have a huge local and national following include:

  • 2014 Six Nations Rugby (1st February – 15th Febraury)
  • The 2014 winter Olympics (7th February- 23rd February)
  • The 2014 Fifa World Cup (12th June-13th July)
  • Wimbledon (23rd June – 6th July)

So expect packed pubs, bars, clubs and everyone being generally happy (until we’re out on penalties that is)

The Summer

Whilst there are events all year round in Hastings & Rother, the region really comes in to its own in the summer. From Jack in the Green the may day bikers, Old town week, Hastings week, food festivals, the Bexhill classic car show and art exhibitions will be brining in huge amounts of tourists and with that vital money for the local tourist industry which drives visitors to the town and area as a whole.

So all in all there are quite a few things to look forward to this year so we wish you the best of luck for your business this year and long in to the future. Whether you are already running a business here or are looking to start one or relocate, Hastings and Rother is a great place to be, not just for business but for living in as well. (If you’re from outside the area you might want to find out a bit more about life here and why thousands are moving here each year. here’s the link.)

Are you looking forward to 2014? Is your business confidence higher this year than last year?







Business In Hastings has an exclusive report from Sarah Owen, Labour candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye regarding her recent trip to China to exchange ideas and promote the local Vacuum Technology and other high tech manufacturing industries that the Hastings & Rother area becoming world famous for. Here in her own words is an overview of the trip.

We also have a small gallery of images from here trip which you can go to here.

Hastings: The South East manufacturing hub.


Sarah arriving at Songshun Lake high tech park

When I talk to people outside of Hastings they normally say to me; ‘Oh, arrow in the eye, tapestry, invasion by Normans.’ They’re far less likely to know about building components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, high-powered lasers or high vacuum technology. Still less likely are people to mention that Hastings is the high tech hub of South-East England.

Hastings, which is my home town is the birth place of innovations including the first television broadcast to teaching Turing, but Hastings doesn’t just deserve that recognition, our future as a town depends on it. It isn’t enough to just be a high-tech hub, Hastings needs to be known as a high-tech hub.

Global influence

The investment that our businesses need to grow, thrive, and create the well-paid, high skilled jobs that our town needs, depend on our town’s reputation. However, in today’s world, our competitors, clients, and supply chains are not just limited to the UK, they’re global.

They’re in cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, where I visited earlier this month.

These two cities, both in the province of Guangdong, are China’s high tech pioneers. Guangdong’s open, outward-looking economic policies stand greatly at odds with the lagging social and political development in the rest of China – the world’s second largest economy whilst still being a developing nation. However, there is still plenty that we could learn, gain and offer this industrial powerhouse – with particular regard to high tech manufacturing.

Growth & Investment

Since the late 80s, Guangdong area has seen phenomenal growth, seeing only a brief dip in GDP growth during the global recession to a still enviable 7.2% – putting the UK’s forecast (and overdue) 2.2% in the shade. As a province, it has consistently led China’s growth over the past 30 years and is predicted to grow at above 8% and contribute another $900 billion to China’s economy.

None of this happened by accident. It took a deliberate, conscious decision by the Chinese government to turn fields of crops and low grade industry into science parks, technology hubs and business clusters. It was only possible with investment from business, the state, academia and by attracting support from overseas.

One example is the Guangzhou Science City, which is home to almost every kind of science and high tech industry you can think of including high vacuum, bio-tech, IT and renewable technology to name just a few. From its inception, the science city hasn’t stood still and constantly looks to support and welcome the next big technological innovation.

Support and R&D

This is heavily supported by the state through the Guangzhou Development District. On my trip, I met the Director of the committee responsible for it, who explained not only how much they had financially supported businesses in the science city, with reduced rents and the highest grade facilities but also practical business support and R&D. There is now 24/7 support for new businesses – his phone was never switched off.

We need to ask ourselves what we can learn from how they encourage growth.  This is most evident when attracting foreign investment, where applications for foreign direct investment are completed by the authorities within 3 working days. Without this commitment, and the continued support of the local development departments, thriving companies like Rio Bio would not have been able to expand as quickly as they had.

Maintaining our position on the global stage

Next to the continued austerity and slow growth we’re faced with here, Guangdong’s example is enviable. When I told both the Chinese businesses and development committee that our own local council will face a 70% reduction in funding from central government by 2017, they asked how on earth we expected to support growth in Hastings? And that is, quite literally the million dollar question.

Whether this support is replicated in the UK by our calls for a dedicated British Investment Bank to support SMEs, a cut in business rates or freezing energy bills which will have a direct impact on particularly manufacturing business’s sky rocketing overheads – it is clear that Government must act now to provide practical support to our local industries if we not only want to maintain our position, but to continue being the birth place of innovation.

Hastings: Time to show the world we’re open for business


Sarah at the first Tec 66 event in summer with Maggie Aderin Pocock, Lord Bassam and Council leader Jeremy Birch and business leaders.

Hastings is home to established names with world-class reputations, General Dynamics, Torr Scientific and Photek among them. But we need some of the reputation of those brands and our excellent experienced service industry, to not only be located in our town, but associated with it as well.

Businesses in Guangdong are crying out for the quality that Hastings’ businesses can offer, as much as we are for high quality jobs. But Hastings’ reputation for high-tech manufacturing and services is barely known elsewhere in Britain, let alone on the other side of the world, in China.

Tec 66: Why its important

This is why events such as Tecc 66 are so important. We need to be prepared to shout about what we are good at, and sell to a global market, which is what I did at every opportunity that I was visiting businesses in China. Nothing less will do in today’s globalised world.

That is why I am working to bring more international exhibitors to the next Tec 66 event and other similar events for our creative industries. That will help build on existing trade links, support our businesses to join major international supply chains, create jobs and ultimately ensure that Hastings has an economic identity that is known worldwide.

To get in touch with Sarah or to follow her via Twitter please see below

Email: Sarah@sarahowen.org.uk

Twitter: @sarahowen_

You can also find out more about Sarah at her website here.

The University of Brighton Hastings would like to invite the business community to their Business Enterprise Seminar.

 Business Enterprise Seminar 2013

  •  9 December, 5-9pm, Priory Square Building, University of Brighton in Hastings TN34 1EA
Business enterprise seminar 2013 at brighton university hastings campus

Business enterprise seminar 2013 at University of Brighton’s Hastings campus

This free public Business Enterprise seminar for local business owners and entrepreneurs is part of a series of events to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the University of Brighton presence in Hastings. Speakers include faculty from Brighton Business School and business students studying at Hastings campus.

Come and listen to the latest thinking about how to overcome challenges faced by small businesses locally in the current climate: challenges concerning finance availability and how to develop and grow businesses beyond start-up. Our students need your support as business owners of the future.

Refreshments provided along with opportunities to discuss and network with other local business entrepreneurs. To book your free space(s) for this seminar please email Chris Matthews at C.R.Matthews@brighton.ac.uk, or call 01273 642135. Booking will be open until 8th December 2013.

Speakers include Professor Aidan Berry, Dean of Brighton Business School, Dr George Tsekouras, Principal Research Fellow at CENTRIM, Brighton Business School (founder and Lead academic of the ProfitNet network) and local entrepreneur Sonia Blizzard of Beaming Ltd, part of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Further information can be found here

The Tec 66 Vacuum Technology exhibition was a huge success and we have been provided with a round up of the event (if you missed it) from Jim Christy who organised the event.

Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Exhibition Review

Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Exhibition Review

Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Exhibition. A huge audience was in attendance.

Following the inaugural Tec 66 Vacuum Technology exhibition which had 200 people attending we have spoken to exhibitors and delegates who attended on the day to find out what they thought of this first event in Hastings.

Everyone agreed that all the speakers were excellent with a lively and captivating opening speech from Graham Peters, High Sheriff of East Sussex and the Conference was expertly chaired by Lord Steve Bassam. Our headline personality speakers Maggie Philbin and Maggie Aderin-Pocock engaged the audience with Science through the last century and amazing facts about our Universe. Did you know there were 200 billion stars in our galaxy and 100 billion galaxies within the observable Universe?

Both Maggies also spent some time at Sussex Coast College with 150 pupils from local schools involved in a range of fun science activities including a highly contested robot wars competition.

Industry feedback would like to see Tec 66 as an annual event as it has certainly raised the profile of our world class Vacuum and Photonics industry based in the area


Maggie Philbin presentation to visitors of Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Exhibition.

We believe this is the first time that this type of industry event has been combined with education to demonstrate the exciting careers available in Science and Technology and we intend to strengthen this industry/education formula by holding the 2014 Tec 66 event at Sussex Coast College.

Special thanks should go to our forward thinking sponsors Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, east Sussex County Council, Sea Change Sussex, Wealden District Council HSBC and the Manufacturing Advisory Service.

Finally special thanks should go to Councillor John Hodges as the Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Conference was his brainchild, to showcase that we have some of the best technology businesses right on our doorstep!

We will keep you posted on news regarding a follow up event for 2014 on Business In Hastings.


The Tec 66 event on the 16th September was a huge success and here are the best images from the event that have been taken by Darren Buss Studio Sussex.

Click on the images below to see full size.