Robert Peston urges East London Businesses to help the economy

Award winning journalist Robert Peston this week told East London businesses that they have a role to play to help the economy out of the current economic downturn.

Speaking at a networking event in Canary Wharf organised by East London Business Place, Peston told the audience of East London SMEs that “you create the wealth that the rest of us rely on for a living.”

“We need wealth creation, and in particular we need small businesses, because we have to pay our way.”

Peston said that despite an economic downturn there will still be opportunities for astute entrepreneurs: “When we go through difficult times, determined individuals who know what they want for their business can actually achieve fantastic results.”

Peston was realistic about the scale of the challenges ahead “This isn’t just any old downturn, it is clear the nature of the economy is changing in a fundamental way. Spending will be far tighter for a period.”

“The phase of really acute crises may be behind us, but we are in for a long hard slog in 2009,” he said.

Gay Harrington, Director of East London Business Place, echoed Peston’s views on the economic challenges but stressed the opportunities for businesses if they are ready to adapt.

“These are exciting times in East London, despite the recession. There are a number of major projects going on across East London and the Thames Gateway, including at the Olympic site and Canary Wharf, and buyers are reviewing their existing supplier base. Local businesses that are awake to the opportunities can still do very well,” she said.

Notes to Editors:
Photographs from the event, which was held on 11 March, are available on request.

East London Business Place

The East London Business Place is a free local procurement and business support programme that operates across the 10 London Boroughs in the Thames Gateway. ELBP’s partnership approach with the Thames Gateway boroughs combines local knowledge and expertise to contribute towards the overall economic development and regeneration agenda of each locality.

Borne out of an established private sector network, ELBP provides business opportunities for companies, focusing on SMEs, contributing to the long term legacy for East London. ELBP’s partners are the London Development Agency, Canary Wharf Group plc and East London Business Alliance.

ELBP works in the following boroughs:

• Barking and Dagenham
• Bexley
• Greenwich
• Hackney
• Havering
• Lewisham
• Newham
• Redbridge
• Tower Hamlets
• Waltham Forest

London Development Agency:
The London Development Agency works to improve quality of life for all Londoners and drive sustainable economic growth.

The LDA is helping deliver an Olympic legacy now. This work includes helping Londoners access skills, job and businesses opportunities through projects such as the Opportunities Fund, Personal Best and CompeteFor. The LDA has also developed three state of the art business parks in Beckton, Leyton and Enfield for businesses relocating from the Olympic Park site. For more information about the LDA’s Olympic legacy work visit

All LDA contracts are being issued through CompeteFor with the exception of opportunities tendered through an existing panel of suppliers set up according to public procurement rules. The £170 million estimate of LDA contracts available to tender is based on 2007/2008 direct spend on goods, works and services only.

Canary Wharf Group plc:
Canary Wharf Group plc manages the Canary Wharf Estate. Since 1987 it has constructed more office space in London than any other developer. It has also led the way in private sector led social and economic regeneration through its Local Business Liaison Office.

Local Business Liaison Office:
Set up in March 1997 it offered a free service set up by the Canary Wharf Group plc to maximise opportunities for local companies.

East London Business Alliance (ELBA):
With 18 years of experience in bringing business skills and private sector volunteers to the East End, ELBA is a leading economic and social regeneration agency within the area. With over 7,500 volunteers in the year ended 2006/07, ELBA’s 125 City and Canary Wharf companies are helping to make a difference in East London.

ELBA brings time, skills, influence and resources from the private sector to help build the capacity of local organisations and regeneration programmes, primarily in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham and now in the Thames Gateway north of the river. ELBA works in partnership with key stake-holders in each borough to identify needs and issues ranging from employment and health to social enterprise support and ensures the private sector brings its human and other resources to bear.