January 2013

Grants for micro enterprises launched - find out more on the HotSW website.

LEP Network - the LEP Network is the hub for LEPs throughout the country - to find out the latest news visit  lepnetwork.org.uk

The Heart of the South West LEP has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to create a powerful economic alliance.

Produced monthly, this newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.


Support for rural businesses

With the help of Devon County Council and Somerset County Council, the Heart of the South West LEP has launched a package of rural business support with the aim of boosting profits and creating jobs.

This includes grants of over £10,000 each for micro-enterprises (10 employees or fewer).  There is no upper limit for the grant, but applicants will need to meet 60% of project costs, with the grant covering a maximum of 40%.

We are asking interested applicants to visit the website for further details.

The £1 million grant fund is in addition to the Government’s £2.9 million investment in the Rural Growth Network (RGN).  Last year, Defra selected just five regions to receive funding for an RGN Pilot to help overcome the challenges of running a rural business, such as shortage of work premises and poor internet speeds.
The RGN is expected to create around 1,300 new jobs in the area and boost the rural economy by £40m.  Click here for further information on the RGN.

Again with the help of the local authorities, we are also developing further support for rural businesses, including a programme of business advice and support, a small number of pilot programmes to support entrepreneurship, and family-based business succession planning.  Details are being finalised and more information will be announced shortly.

Chief Executive recruitment underway

As you may be aware from our mailing, the Chief Executive recrutiment is underway with the closing date of Wednesday (23rd January).

With the advent of funding from central Government, the position is now secure for at least the next two years, so the partnership can move from an interim arrangement to a formal contract.

Interested candidates are asked to contact Reed Recruitment by 23rd January with a copy of their CV.  Click here to view the job details on the Reed Recruitment website.

The successful applicant is likely to be in post by early 2013.

EU workshops

Consultations are underway with the business community as well as social enterprise and district councils about our proposals for EU funding. 

Workshops, held throughout the area during January, have been well attended and have provided an opportunity to feedback to the LEP on the key investment priorities. 

So far the events have established the following main priorities:
  • accessing business support
  • ensuring micro businesses have the same opportunities to access business support as SMEs
  • the importance of promoting entrepreneurship to schools
  • ensuring that businesses commit to low carbon agreements.
The final event in Paignton is now fully subscribed, but the presentation is available to view on the LEP website.

You can also email us with your feedback.

Plymouth and Peninsula City Deal

A formal 'Expression of Interest' for Plymouth to be awarded a City Deal has been submitted to central Government.

The plan, formulated by a partnership of the LEP, Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council, Cornwall Council and Torbay Council along with private sector partners and Plymouth University, was submitted on 15th January.

The initiative is a new programme designed to unlock the growth potential of urban areas in England. 

If successful, Plymouth will then be invited to negotiate a full City Deal by the end of 2013.

Business Forum sectoral groups

HotSW's Business Forum is establishing a number of specialist groups to provide the LEP with sectoral advice and the latest business intelligence.

The groups will include:
  • low carbon
  • transport
  • initial planning.
To find out more about the groups and how you can get involved, please look at the LEP website.

Transition funding

In the last newsletter, we reported on the LEP visit to Westminster to lobby for Transition Funding. 

We are continuing to lobby for this funding - whilst Transition funding would only apply to Devon and Torbay, it would also would provide an overall uplift in the economy of the Heart of the South West LEP area.

It would enable funding to be more targeted, lever additional value through some policy flexibility on areas such as infrastructure and ensure that there was more money as a whole within the region, thus benefiting the whole area.

We recognise that Cornwall must continue to qualify for highest level funding, but the success of the wider Peninsula economy requires a sensible, joined up approach to economic growth and that must include structural funding.
Copyright © 2013 Heart of the South West, All rights reserved.