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February 2015

February Skills Newsletter is here.  You can also sign up for future editions.

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.

Introduction - HotSW LEP Chief Executive, Chris Garcia

Last month we hosted visits from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on the day that the Growth Deal was announced, allocating a further £65.2m to deliver growth-generating projects across the Heart of the South West.

This was the largest allocation of any LEP in the country, so is testament to the strength of our partnership to deliver the best value packages that bring about the maximum economic growth.

We can also report that negotiations between national Government and the European Commission are reaching a conclusion, which will allow LEP Area Sub-Committees – local groups charged with ensuring European funding is spent in accordance with agreed local strategies – to begin their work. Most of the European funding – which comes from three different funds: ERDF, ESF and EARDF  - will be deployed through a ‘call’ process. This means that a description of the aims of a particular project or package of work will be published by Government and project applicants invited to come forward. The Heart of the South West’s Committee meets on 11th March, and will be looking at a small number of these calls which the LEP has advised are a high priority – mainly because there are other sources of funding dependent on European monies – to be launched before the pre-election period (30 March to 7 May).

We also have an update on the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal, of which one of its key projects - South Yard Marine Industries Campus- was the focus of David Cameron’s recent visit.

HotSW LEP held a successful event on Big Data in January at the Met office and will be sharing the findings of this interesting seminar soon.

We have news about the New Nuclear programme and supply chain opportunities which are available to all businesses in the HotSW area, not just those geographically close to Hinkley; and we have information about a new fund - Unlocking Business Investment - that offers grants to businesses looking to grow.

As we approach spring we’re gathering momentum for a prosperous year, and we look forward to continuing to work with you all and develop important partnerships in the public and private sector.

* European Regional Development Fund; European Social Fund; European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development – see the European Funding ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQs) on our website for more information.

£455m investment package for the Heart of the South West announced by Government

The Heart of the South West LEP has been given notification of an extension to the Growth Deal of £65.2m to deliver 7500 jobs, 2100 homes and £75m public and private sector investment.

This is the largest allocation in the country, and as Growth Deals are made according to the potential for delivering tangible economic visits and the LEP’s track record of delivery, this latest announcement is a significant achievement.

Both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister visited the Heart of the South West on the day of the announcement, 29 January, to see first-hand some of the projects that are set to benefit from this further injection of funding and confidence.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, visited Exeter Science Park where Growth Deal funding will enable the second phase to start construction, creating 30,000 sq ft of grow-on business space and a collaboration centre within the Environmental Futures Campus that will house the new Met Office supercomputer. The PM also visited South Yard in Plymouth where MOD land is being transferred to develop employment space for the growing marine industry sector. He also looked at the plans for the new Forder Valley Link Road in Plymouth which will unlock 145 Ha of employment land and support 9,000 new jobs. Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, visited Lupimedia in Yeovil which is an example of a business outside the major urban conurbations that benefits from increased broadband coverage to 95% enabled by the Growth Deal extension.

This latest round of investment will deliver the following projects:
• Low Carbon Innovation Centre in Bridgwater to support Hinkley Point C.
• Superfast broadband coverage of the next 5% in hard to reach areas.
• Electronics and Photonics Centre Innovation Centre (EPIC) at White Rock Business Park in Paignton
• Site separation and remediation to develop South Yard in Plymouth as a marine campus.
• A new Unlocking Growth Fund to invest in a range of projects across the area that will boost employment at key sites.
• The creation of a collaboration centre at the Met Office Environmental Futures Campus, linked to one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers.
• The delivery of Phase 2 of the Exeter Science Park Centre.
• A package of transport schemes including: major improvements at Junction 25 of the M5; the creation of a new link road in Plymouth between the A38 Parkway and the major growth area at Derriford/Seaton Barracks; and a new junction at Tiverton giving access to Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension from the A361.

HotSW LEP will continue to work with its partners to provide a pipeline of new projects for national and European investment that make a robust case for generating more new jobs and greater prosperity for the area.

The new funding is in addition to the £130.3m committed by the Government in July 2014.  Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal - 2015-2021 – the HotSW LEP estimates that up to 22,000 new jobs will be created and 11,000 new homes built.  The Deal also has the potential to generate up to £260m of public and private investment, which along with this new funding of £65.2m, brings the total package to £455m.


European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) Update from HotSW LEP

Steady progress has been made over the past month at both at national and local levels, and we are now a few steps closer to being able to launch a European funding programme for the Heart of the South West.

At national level progress has finally been made in the negotiations between national Government and the European Commission. The Operational Programmes – documents which set out how each nation in the EU will deploy its European funding are nearing final agreement. The EAFRD programme has already been agreed in principle and the ESF and ERDF programmes are set to receive agreement in principle by the end of this month. 

One of the sticking points in the negotiations was European Commission’s reluctance to devolve responsibility for the programme down to LEP areas. We have recently received final confirmation from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), as the ‘Managing Authority’ for European funding, that efforts to convince them otherwise have not been successful and that DCLG  must make the final decisions on individual projects in our area. We are re-assured, however, that LEP and the Local Area Committee still have a vital role to play in ensuring funds are used in accordance with our agreed local strategies. We are now gearing up to leave the long debates about governance and process behind us and move into delivery – starting with the next EUSIF Committee meeting on 11th March.

The LEP still has a role to play alongside the Managing Authority. As well as the LEP officer team working closely with officials in the national Government, there are also a number of LEP representatives on the Committee. Stephen Bird, one of our LEP Board Directors, also sits on the Committee as the formal LEP representative.

The pre-election period (commonly known as Purdah) places restrictions on the Managing Authority’s ability to publish funding calls. Therefore at the next Committee meeting a small number of calls that the LEP has advised are high priority, will be put forward for approval.

During the pre-election period the Managing Authority, the LEP and the Committee will work put in place a Local Implementation Plan – an annual delivery plan for our local funding programme – so we are ready to hit the ground running as soon as the General Election has taken place.

What can potential applicants be doing now?
There is not much you can do until you see the calls are published by the Managing Authority. We will make sure we use all of our available channels to notify partners in the Heart of the South West when these appear. In the meantime, you could familiarise yourself with the ESIF (in particular part 3)  to see if your aims fit with the proposed activities.

Don’t know your “opt-ins” from your “operational programmes”? Tired of the spaghetti soup of acronyms? We do our best to write these updates in a way that is accessible for those not embroiled in the detail on a day-to-day basis, but if you would like to learn more we produce a regularly updated FAQs on our website intended as a guide to the world of European funding. Take a look at here.


New Nuclear Coordinator

Corinne Mathews has been seconded for six months as the New Nuclear Coordinator to work across our LEP as well as the LEPs of West of England and Gloucestershire to help maximise benefits and a nuclear legacy for the local economy from the construction of Hinkley Point C. Corinne is focused particularly on skills needed for the workforce as well as developing the supply chain opportunities which are available to companies throughout the Heart of the South West and the other partner LEP areas. More details on this latter topic are in the article below, and Corinne can be contacted at:


Hinkley Supply Chain - Somerset and South West

Hinkley Supply Chain Team - Somerset and South West
As part of its procurement strategy for Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy partnered with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce in 2010 to develop the Hinkley Supply Chain Team.  The team delivers a supply chain solution for EDF Energy and its contractors by engaging with both Somerset and South West businesses that want to become part of the supply chain.
The Hinkley Supply Chain Team captures the details of Somerset and South West businesses, mapping their core capabilities against Hinkley Point C project requirements. Amongst other things, they can match suppliers with EDF Energy and Tier 1 contractor work package requirements, offering an authorised online search function and a bespoke supplier matching service.
 With 90 Tier 1 contractors planning to deliver contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds, each with multiple Tier 2 and 3 supply chain requirements, the opportunity for local and regional supplier input is both large and complex.
The results speak for themselves, over £18 million in contracts have already been awarded to local companies and the main construction has not even started.
BIS funding has also supported the Hinkley Supply Chain Team to work with EDF Energy and its Tier 1 contractors bringing them together with clusters of local companies.  So far, 14 local supplier cluster groups have been supported involving 195 supplier businesses and contracts of circa £1.8 million awarded with over £50 million in the pipeline over the next 12 months.
To compete for the opportunities around Hinkley Point C, register now on the supply chain portal For more information, please call the Hinkley Supply Chain Team on 01823 443425 or email


Unlocking Business Growth

Businesses across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset can apply for grants of between £25,000 and £499,000 as part of the Unlocking Business Investment programme. Funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the £5 million programme is being delivered as a partnership between North Devon+ and Plymouth University and is supported by HotSW LEP.
Grants are available to eligible growing businesses that are able to deliver job creation as part of their development plans. 
For more information, a grant prospectus is available with full details on eligibility and suitable projects. Businesses wishing to apply for the programme should visit the UBI application portal where they can register their details, and complete an Expression of Interest (EOI). Guidance notes are available to assist applicants with the EOI.
Please note a fee of £120 (£100 plus £20 VAT) is payable at the EOI stage to contribute towards initial checks and project review.
For more details, or for informal advice on the process, please contact John Hutchings, Grant Manager on, or John Lewis, Project Officer, on


City Deal Update

Youth Deal Wage Progression Pilot  has started rolling out in Plymouth to help young people progress towards a career and increasing their earnings, under the ‘Dream It Live It branding
The Personalised Mentors Scheme brought together the 12 provider organisations and the management contractor Petroc for an inception meeting in Tiverton and will be launched next month under its new name: The Personal Mentor Network,
Plymouth City Council has agreed to the transfer of South Yard and the Outline Planning Application has been submitted for the Marine Industries Production Campus.

Inward Investment Service

7 Inward Investors have been offered Heart of the South West Investor Growth grants, to encourage new jobs and private investment. Funded projects include development of a marine manufacturing facility, development of a new photonics product and relocation to a larger premises of a food manufacturing company. This wave of Investor Growth grants has now been completed, but we hope to have further funding next financial year.

6 companies have been offered Soft Landing grants, which pay the travel expenses for a company, considering relocation to the Heart of the South West, to visit the area and meet the Inward Investment team. This includes a delegation of San Diego- based marine technology specialists, organised with Plymouth University. Soft Landing funding is available until the end of March 2015, so please contact for details.

The Inward Investment team supported the South West Marine Energy Park at the Wave & Tidal event in Edinburgh  this week. This event enables direct contact with potential investors, industry specialists and government departments. With world-leading experts at Exeter and Plymouth Universities, potential demonstration zones in North Devon and Somerset and strong suppliers including Tocardo and Supacat, the Marine Energy sector is important for the Heart of the South West’s future economic growth.

HotSW Growth Hub – advice and signposting to help businesses grow in 2015 and beyond

Free and impartial business support advice and signposting continues to be available from the Growth Hub, and following the recent announcement on investment from the Growth Deal, the Growth Hub is evolving to improve this valuable service to provide businesses across the Heart of the South West area with the support they need to enable their growth and future prosperity. The Growth Hub has now reached over 16,000 businesses, and those looking for support and advice can call 0800 073 2020 or click here for more information.

2015 is a transition year for our Growth Hub; we are taking what we have learnt and deploying additional funding to provide an enhanced service in 2016. The current service continues in its existing form in the meantime, so please continue to use the service, refer businesses to it and provide feedback to help shape the new service; and thank you to all of those who have already joined in with this process and made valuable contributions already.

We’ve been working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to establish a clear vision for the future of the Growth Hub; and we’ll continue to communicate with you on its progress, and we welcome feedback from businesses and stakeholders to help us develop and improve the service as we go forward. Please send your feedback and suggestions to

GAIN Growth Fund

The GAIN Growth Fund (GGF) has recently announced funding for three companies. Plymouth based Big Data company, Intelligent Optimisations has received £250,000 to help support the creation of 42 new jobs. Boringdon Hall in South Devon are building a new £5million luxury spa facility and £150,000 from GGF will help create 50 new jobs.

The development of a new factory for Applied Automaton in Langage Industrial Estate will accommodate a growing workforce with £67,500 supporting 15 new skilled jobs

Rural Enterprise Grants provide massive boost to businesses across Devon and Somerset

30 businesses in the HotSW area have received around £800,000 of grant money to help boost the region’s economy and create jobs.
84 jobs will have been created by March 2015 and a further 33 by March 2017 totalling 117 giving a GVA (Gross Value Added) increase of £4.9M by March 2017.
This project shows the support offered to rural companies in Devon and Somerset. It is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England, for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. It has been grant funded through the HotSW LEP’s Rural Enterprise Grant Programme delivered by Devon County Council with guidance and support provided by Peninsula Enterprise and BiP.
Some examples include:
The-Sign-Maker-Dot-Net-Ltd in Umberleigh North Devon £34,000 for expansion to create another 2 full time jobs.
Devon’s Virtual Jet Centre in Chudleigh £45,000 to help their flight simulator business take-off, creating 4 full time jobs over the next 4 years.
Wedgewood Buildings in Tiverton £25,060 towards a new saw to cope with increasing demand, improve efficiency, increase productivity and reduce wastage.
The Annie Martin Architect Practice in Cheriton Bishop £20,282 for a permanent office space and contribution towards two new members of staff to increase turnover.
The Wild Beer Co near Shepton Mallet in Somerset £60,000 to set up their own bar which will create 9 jobs by 2017.
Eternal Kitchens in South Petherton, Somerset £56,425 for new build construction to improve efficiency.
Bespoke joinery company, Ludbrook Joinery in Ivybridge granted £15,452 for general expansion.

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