Crawley's mayor, Councillor Bob Burgess, is to open a major local business event for the Crawley and Gatwick Diamond area next Thursday (March 13).

This year's Manor Royal Business District (MRBD) 'Know Your Neighbour' event will be launched at the Sandman Signature Hotel – formerly the Ramada Plaza – in Tinsley Lane South, Three Bridges, at 10am.

The event, running through to 3pm, offers companies on Manor Royal – the largest business park in Crawley and the Gatwick Diamond – the chance to find out about each other and what services and products they can provide.

More than 200 local business people representing 100 companies will be attending, from Manor Royal giants including Virgin Atlantic, which has its headquaters on Manor Royal, to small independents and newcomers, such as Digital Realty. MRBD Limited board member Paul Searle, who is also managing director of P&H Motorcycles, a Manor Royal company, said: "The sheer number and huge diversity of companies based on Manor Royal is something visitors and researchers regularly remark on, describing it is as one of the area's main selling points."

MRBD executive director Steve Sawyer, said: "Manor Royal is undergoing a bit of a renaissance with the Business Improvement District (BID), and we are already starting to see the benefits, including a dedicated website for Manor Royal businesses, a quarterly magazine, local business listings, access to free and reduced-rate services and some significant capital investment."

Calling Manor Royal's success “critical to the local community,” he continued: "Crawley town relies on the businesses of Manor Royal for a significant proportion of its wealth, employment and jobs – and there is huge potential for the BID to deliver improvements that otherwise would not happen, and to facilitate Manor Royal businesses working together and trading with one another."

As well as networking, businesses will be able to exhibit, meet with MRBD Limited board members, hear the latest on the progress of the Manor Royal BID, discuss recent improvements and forward plans, and join in a seminar programme. The three seminar events during the day will take place at 11am to 11.40am, when under the title Manor Royal 'Soapbox' and chaired by Mr Sawyer with Coun Burgess, Manor Royal businesses will present themselves in two minutes, from 12.30pm to 1.10pm, when Manor Royal BID - Looking forward will be the focus, and from 2pm to 2.40pm, when Gatwick Airport - a local business – will provide the latest news on proposals for a second runway at the airport, and how Manor Royal businesses can do business with Gatwick.

Manor Royal Business District is a key economic hub within the South-east and provides the employment foundation of both Crawley and the wider Gatwick Diamond area. It is home to more than 500 businesses - about 17% of all businesses in Crawley are based at Manor Royal - providing jobs for 30,000 people, 18,000 of whom commute to the area from outside the town.

By itself, Manor Royal accounts for 40% of Crawley's total employment and, according to the Ratings list, provides more than 700 individual rateable business units.

MRBD Limited is an independent not-for-profit company set up to represent and promote Manor Royal-based businesses. A company limited by guarantee, MRBD is responsible for managing and delivering the Manor Royal BID using contributions from Manor Royal companies to reinvest in the area and generate additional funds to achieve its vision and objectives.

The Gatwick Diamond takes its name from a diamond shape drawn around Gatwick Airport, reflecting the influence the airport has on the lives of the people in that area, including East Surrey. The Gatwick Diamond Initiative business forum was initiated by the Surrey and West Sussex Economic Partnerships and involves Surrey and West Sussex county councils, six borough and district councils, and a range of public and private sector partners.

It was launched to help make Gatwick as successful as other airport-focused communities, and to transform it into a flourishing economy that encourages innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. This year's Gatwick Diamond Expo business event has been set for Wednesday, April 2. The event, created to support local business by providing a showcase event for consumers and other businesses, is expected to draw more than 1,000 visitors, and will take place at K2 leisure centre off the A23 Brighton Road in Crawley, with more than 100 stands being mounted to show off a broad cross-section of local companies