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April 2016






The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

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

www.heartofswlep.co.uk
 

Introduction - Chris Garcia, Chief Executive


Local Enterprise Partnerships appear to be generating more attention across the country, largely due to the local authority led Devolution deals that are unfolding along LEP boundaries. Here in our area, we are stepping up our cross-LEP activity to present a strategic approach to any increased investment and influence to maximise the benefit for our economy.
 
In my regular meetings with the chairs and chief executives of the other South West LEPs, we identify common priorities that we believe will give us greater resonance with government for high-level strategic investment, by showing that we are greater than the sum of the parts and are collaborative as well as competitive.
 
For example, on transport we are looking to build on our cross LEP initiative from 2014 when we produced the Greater Connected report that addresses the three critical success factors in our connectivity requirements: road, rail & broadband.
 
We see opportunities to work with our partners and help influence the new Road Investment Strategy for 2020-2025 by presenting proposals that address multiple SW LEPs’ needs – as well as the views of major businesses - and a clear integration of this strategy with rail infrastructure plans. LEPs are in a good position to provide the economic case for such schemes and to make sure that national infrastructure plans and local projects such as those funded by the Growth Deal are strategically aligned.
 
Another area of cross LEP partnership is the Nuclear South West partnership between HotSW, West of England, GFirst LEPs and Business West. Set up with the aim to build business legacy on the existing opportunities in the nuclear sector on the back of Hinkley Point C; but not exclusively related to Hinkley. We’ll have more news on the progress of this new initiative next time.
 
Plans for this year’s Annual Conference are taking shape for 3rd October. With momentum gathering on the Devolution process it’s expected to be a popular diary date for the business community, as the LEP is a key channel for businesses' voices to be heard; outlining their ideas, concerns and aspirations for improving our economy.
 
A quick update on Devolution – all HotSW Local partners have signed up to the letter of intent and a prospectus, and the issue of Governance is an early priority with work already underway. There’ll be news issued from the Devolution Project Management Office as progress is made.

The Growth Hub is well underway having dealt with more enquiries than expected in its first month. And feedback from the Pop Up Business Café initiative, which was a fore-runner to the full Growth Hub service, was encouraging.  105 people attending 14 events at a spread of venues across the area.
 
Finally, a quick reminder to partners about the new ESIF calls released this month for funding on a range of topics from innovation to skills; all important strands of our Strategic Economic Plan. We delayed announcing some of these calls while we worked with our partners in the Department for Communities and Local Government to refine the criteria to be suitable for projects in the Heart of the South West.

European Structural Investment Fund Update

 

New ERDF calls went live earlier this month for: Innovation (including agri-tech, big data, environmental futures, healthy ageing and marine) Photonics, Social Enterprise Support, Digital Infrastructure and Workspace. (Those interested in Social Enterprise Support may be interested to read the article below about the LEP’s recently published report on the subject.)
 
This week, two ESF calls were released for ‘Developing Higher Level Skills’ and ‘Improving the Labour Market Relevance of Higher Level Skills’.
 
Further information on these calls and other ESIF developments in the Heart of the South West can be found on the ESIF pages of our website.
 
As soon as ESIF calls go live, you can be notified directly by signing up to the government website for email alerts at:  https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/email-signup
 
The LEP is keen to raise awareness and promote take up of ESIF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West. Presentations from the Heart of the South West ERDF Technical Assistance events that were held last month are available on the website and a video of the events will be published shortly. Also, we’ve set up a Partner Database to help organisations in the area to find potential partners for projects and funding. Partners are encouraged to share their details and ideas on the database at http://partner.heartofswlep.co.uk/

New calls for the European Structural Investment Fund

 

New ERDF calls went live earlier this month for: Innovation (including agri-tech, big data, environmental futures, healthy ageing and marine) Photonics, Social Enterprise Support, Digital Infrastructure and Workspace. (Those interested in Social Enterprise Support may be interested to read the article below about the LEP’s recently published report on the subject.)
 
This week, two ESF calls were released for ‘Developing Higher Level Skills’ and ‘Improving the Labour Market Relevance of Higher Level Skills’.
 
Further information on these calls and other ESIF developments in the Heart of the South West can be found on the ESIF pages of our website.
 
As soon as ESIF calls go live, you can be notified directly by signing up to the government website for email alerts at:  https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/email-signup
 
The LEP is keen to raise awareness and promote take up of ESIF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West. Presentations from the Heart of the South West ERDF Technical Assistance events that were held last month are available on the website and a video of the events will be published shortly. Also, we’ve set up a Partner Database to help organisations in the area to find potential partners for projects and funding. Partners are encouraged to share their details and ideas on the database at http://partner.heartofswlep.co.uk/

Stephen Criddle, People Group Chair & Principal of South Devon College


This is my second column for the newsletter in which the chairs of the LEP Leadership Groups of People, Place and Business give a round-up of what’s been happening through the partnership.
 
The People Group which I chair is focussed on improving skills and employment opportunities for the people who live in the Heart of the South West. Our area doesn’t have a particularly high rate of unemployment, but average salaries are low, so we aim to encourage projects and initiatives that can create better paid jobs and rewarding, long term careers.
 
By improving local skills, we give local growing companies the confidence to expand here rather than relocating to other parts of the country, and it helps attract new investors too, who will only invest here if they can rely on there being enough local employees with the right skills to join their workforce.
 
Last time I talked about how one key initiative is addressing skills gaps through the Enterprise Advisor Service, which has now been launched & gathering momentum. It’s a new initiative bringing together schools, colleges and businesses to help students make informed choices about their qualifications and training.
 
Some key skills gaps and opportunities for our area that have been identified are for Digital, Nuclear and Construction sectors. So the LEP aims to encourage training in these areas of employer demand and raise awareness of these opportunities.
 
To showcase the work that has been happening in Enterprise Education, we've also produced a video which encourages more partnerships between businesses and the education sector to help young people into careers.
 
Elsewhere in the newsletter there’s details of the new calls launched this week asking for European funding applications for projects that “improve the labour market relevance of education and training” and “enhance equal access to lifelong learning” so I’m looking forward to working with my partners in the People group to encourage some really effective projects coming through for this new funding.
 
We will work with government to make sure that their planned area-based reviews of further education results in a fit-for-purpose solution, which may mean no changes for this area. We aim to provide young people with access to the right levels of training and qualification opportunities to help them raise their aspirations and employment prospects.

Over £11m from the Growth Deal secured by the LEP for FE and skills is being spent on projects at Bridgwater College, Somerset College and City College Plymouth.

A further £6.5m of projects are being commissioned across the whole of the Heart of the South West to help support the skills requirements for Hinkley Point C and those businesses and localities directly and indirectly affected by its development.

A further pipeline of skills projects is being progressed, which will be ready to access future Government funding when it becomes available.

All of this is essential to the LEP’s overall aim to improve productivity and prosperity – we cannot emphasise strongly enough that skills are crucial to this achievement.

Heart of the South West Growth Hub

 

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub has helped more than 50 businesses in its first weeks of activity. 21 qualified referrals have been made to a wide range of services including the Pop up Café initiative, Local Action Groups and Get Set for Growth. In addition, businesses have been signposted to more than 30 local, regional and national funded support services.
 
Starting a businesses and planning for business growth are the most common enquiry type that the Growth Hub team has received, along with requests about accessing finance.
 
Awareness of the service is increasing daily with more than 190 sign-ups for the e-newsletter to date, and we are looking to our partners to encourage their contacts who may be interested in business support to sign up to the newsletter here.
 
Business support providers delivering funded or part funded services can fill out the Growth Hub Business Support Provider Registration form so that the Growth Hub can contact them to set up referral channels. Providers wishing the Growth Hub to promote their services can email promotional materials or event information to info@heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk

Businesses wishing to talk to the Growth Hub team about their business support needs can also access the service through the online registration form.

The Growth Hub team was pleased to welcome 30 business support providers and stakeholders to their event at Yeovil Innovation Centre on 19 April, pictured above.

PM "delighted" with the impact of LEPs as he "commends" their achievements to date.

 

For the LEP Network Annual Conference last month, the Prime Minister gave his personal backing to LEPs as they marked five years of impact on their local economies.

In a welcoming statement to what was a record breaking annual conference with over 300 delegates, the PM said he was "delighted to see the real impact Local Enterprise Partnerships are making across the country."

This endorsement was underpinned by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who echoed the Prime Minister's view saying that the contribution LEPs make to their communities is "absolutely invaluable" as he announced another £1.8bn of local growth deal funding.

There’s a bite size conference video here which sums up the key soundbites, along with films of individual speeches 
 

UK Government recognises world-leading strengths in South West England and South East Wales

 

The Heart of the South West is part of the area that has been selected by the government’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to take part in the first wave of Science and Innovation Audits.
 
The Audit will help the LEP target valuable support to the clusters of excellence that are already thriving here, and enable them to make a step-change to compete successfully on an international arena.
 
The Heart of the South West has transformational opportunities for growth in science and innovation sectors such as nuclear, environmental science and marine; and as a result of the findings of the audit, the LEP will be able to help these sectors achieve high levels of productivity for the UK.

Tangible benefits include strengthening bids for investment from the private sector and the UK and EU funds.

The South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit consortium brings together key organisations and businesses from South West England (Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Gloucestershire, Heart of the South West, Swindon & Wiltshire, and West of England LEPs) and South East Wales, and is being led in HotSW by the area’s universities, including the University of Exeter, Plymouth University and the University of St Mark and St John.

Social Enterprise Report

 

The LEP Special Interest Group for Social Enterprise has produced a report on Social Enterprises to explore the vital role they play in the local economy.
 
Social Enterprises offer an approach to business which looks not only to their own sustainability, but also to another bottom line: bringing social benefits through entrepreneurial activity and income generation.
 
Like any other businesses they are local wealth generators and employers and often use more of their spending power locally, bringing extra value, as well as harnessing the resources of local volunteers.
 
As such they hold a key to addressing some of the more entrenched social issues such as how to care for those in need, finding innovative environmental solutions or offering a valuable route towards employment.
 
This report shows that the emerging sector needs support and the opportunity to grow, so this is the start of a journey towards understanding the contribution of these businesses and the sector’s wider needs. More work will be done over the coming months and years to refine and build on this learning to enable local social enterprises to thrive.
 
The report is published here, as well as information about the current call for applications for ERDF funding for projects relating to Social Enterprise in this area.
 

Global pitch for the Heart of the South West Agri-food sector


This week the Heart of the South West’s Inward Investment manager met with a group of UKTI Overseas Postsfrom Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the USA to promote the area’s strengths in the ‘Agri-food’ sector. A small group of LEPs from across the UK discussed opportunities to attract Foreign Direct Investment, and generate export opportunities for local food and drink companies.
 
HotSW already has a global reputation for quality and heritage in the ‘Agri-food’ sector, and high quality local produce is a major theme in the flourishing tourism market. The Bath and West Showground at Shepton Mallet has been recognised as one of only fourteen Food Enterprise Zones in the country. Food Enterprise Zones are established with the aim to boost the UK’s food production sector.
 
Rural Productivity is one of the six “Golden Opportunities” in the HotSW Devolution Prospectus which aims to raise productivity by delivering better rural broadband and investing in agri-tech research and development and business support for rural companies.
 
Inward investment partners from across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay are building on the area’s strengths in this sector to maximise the benefits of the natural resources available, and the impressive range of food and drink providers operating here.
 
For example, Brixham has the largest fishing catch by value in England; much of which is exported; and there are huge opportunities for expanding the market in the UK’s top food export products: chocolate, salmon, cheese & beef, all of which have high-quality providers in the Heart of the South West.
 
Companies interested in export in the food and drink sector (or any other sector) can contact the Growth Hub who will signpost the relevant business support information and services.
 

Travel to Trade Offer for HotSW Businesses to attend International Festival of Business

 
The International Festival for Business  IFB2016 is a global marketplace for creating connections and doing deals. It brings together thousands of businesses from around the world for three weeks of events, networking and deal-making.
 
The business festival, which runs from 13 June to 1 July in Liverpool, offers an unrivaled platform for UK companies to explore and grow their global networks. 

Limited funding is available for UK companies outside Liverpool to travel to IFB2016 as part of an organised delegation.
 
'Travel to Trade' is offering grants for delegations comprising a minimum of five companies each and IFB2016 sponsor packages are also available. For more information or to be put in touch with the lead for your region contact traveltotrade@ifb2016.com 
 
The festival is being delivered in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, the GREAT Britain Campaign and with the support of the UK Government. It is estimated that IFB2016 will attract over 30,000 business people to Liverpool.

Businesses can register to attend the FREE UKTI events here 
 

HS2 Roadshow Comes to the South West – 30 June - Supply Chain Opportunities for HotSW Companies


HS2 will be the UK’s new high speed railway, providing fast, frequent and reliable services, connecting eight of the UK’s largest cities. It will be a catalyst for growth across the country, and there are thousands of supply chain opportunities for a range of businesses, including those in the Heart of the South West.

HS2 Ltd will visit 11 regions across the UK, with one being held in Bristol on 30 June at the At-Bristol Science Centre, to meet a broad range of companies to discuss the opportunities that will be available. The roadshows will explain the types of work on offer, how to get involved, and advise companies on how to put themselves in the best position to win work. Register here
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