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September 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.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive

Welcome to the September edition of the LEP newsletter.

I seem to say this every month, but there’s a lot happening at the LEP at the moment. Since our last newsletter we’ve had the long awaited announcement from the government confirming the go ahead for Hinkley Point C and we’re making progress on our Devolution Deal led by our local authority partners.

One decision we’re still awaiting is the autumn statement when we expect to hear what our latest round bidding for the Growth Deal secured by way of investment. You can see what we bid for here, along with our Transport Majors bid and our Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Fund.

Projects already funded from our first Growth Deal are progressing well on the ground, and you can now see detailed information about our funded projects on our new website.

Our partnership work with other South West LEPs is strengthening. We’ve news from the Nuclear South West partnership about the inaugural conference last week; we’ve reiterated our ask to government in the summary of our Greater Connected Strategy and we’ve set up a working group to create a brand and position for the South West to rival the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine. In these times of expecting the unexpected, it’s important that we keep abreast with change and adapt to the new opportunities the economic environment brings. We’re very good at that at the LEP because we’re streamlined on staff yet robust on partnership and decision making.

Next week we hold our second annual conference at Sandy Park where we’ll welcome 400 businesses and partner organisations to focus on the theme of Productivity over a series of keynote presentations and seminars.

We’ll be publishing a round-up of the conference and our Annual Review so keep an eye on the website for these updates and follow us on Twitter.

It’s been an eventful 12 months at the LEP and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that the next 12 months bring as we step up investment in skills, infrastructure and promoting our area in a global market.

As the new academic year gets underway, we've made good progress on rolling out our Enterprise Advisor Network across the area, bridging the gap between employment and education, and the news of Hinkley going ahead brings new openings in high value careers for the next generation of engineers and those working in the supply chain across all sectors.

As we await news of our latest Growth Deal bid we are cautious but hope that the government will yet again show confidence in the Heart of the South West by investing in the skills projects that we need to complement the improved infrastructure projects that are taking shape. We can already see successful projects from the first Growth Deal now nearing completion at Plymouth STEM Centre and the newly merged Bridgwater and Taunton College with its Advanced Centre for Engineering – both providing excellent new learning places for subjects in high demand from HotSW businesses.

The Area Based Review into post 16 education and skills provision is starting in November. This is being done jointly across the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The LEPs are working with Local Authorities and FE providers to scope the review and ensure that our area secures a sustainable provision that is suitable for our future needs.

As we lead up to our second Annual Conference on Monday, where we’ll welcome around 400 delegates from business and partnership organisations to review how the LEP is progressing and look at our plans for the coming year, I’m pleased to see that investing in skills through the Growth Deal to enable local people to secure and develop rewarding careers remains a top priority for the LEP, and is a crucial factor in attracting and retaining successful businesses in our area.

ESIF Update

As reported in our last newsletter, in August, the Treasury announced that all ESIF projects with signed contracts (known as funding agreements) in place prior to the Autumn Statement on 23 November 2016 will be fully funded, even if these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. The Treasury will also put in place arrangements for assessing whether to guarantee funding for specific ESIF projects that might be contracted after the Autumn Statement but whilst the UK remains a member of the EU, with further details expected ahead of the Autumn Statement. The full Treasury statement can be found here -
In this context, the LEP is actively:
  • Liaising with Government Departments and, as appropriate, ESIF applicants to ensure that as many Heart of the South West ESIF proposals as possible are contracted prior to the Autumn Statement, thereby guaranteeing associated investment; and
  • Pushing the need for wider ESIF activity (including the launch of new ESIF calls for proposals, contracting of ESIF proposals and Treasury funding guarantees) to continue beyond the Autumn Statement in order to deliver local growth priorities. The LEP and other ESIF partners have now been asked for information on possible ESIF activity post the Autumn Statement; whilst there is no guarantee, this is a positive development
We will provide further information on forward ESIF implementation arrangements on our website and in this newsletter as details become available.

In the meantime, a £3 million (£1 million for the ‘More Developed’ area of Somerset and £2 million for the ‘Transition area’ of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay) ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space projects in the Heart of the South West remains open to outline applications. Full details can be found here -

News from Nuclear South West

September has been ‘nuclear’ month with a series of high profile nuclear related announcements and events. The big announcement was of course the Government giving the go ahead to Hinkley Point C.

The Nuclear South West Partners made the most of this focus on nuclear and held two successful events.

First up was the University of Bristol’s launch of the SW Nuclear Hub.

The South West Nuclear Hub provides a focus for nuclear innovation, research and teaching in the south west of the UK. The Hub incorporates the existing collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC) and also forms partnerships with the universities of Exeter, Plymouth, West of England and UWE.

The dedicated hub building, introduces a step-change across Higher Education in the region to accelerate and grow nuclear research and teaching activities. The Hub will provide a common location for academia, industry and government to come together to meet the opportunities and challenges facing nuclear energy in the UK.

Held in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building, an impressive line-up of speakers welcomed the hub launch and the value it would bring to the already significant nuclear sector within the region. HotSW LEP CX Chris Garcia (one of a panel of notable speakers which included EDF, NNL) spoke to the gathering about how assets such as the Hub provide an important R&D function to support cluster development and in turn will grow the capabilities of SMEs to access the nuclear opportunities.

On 20 September Nuclear South West held its inaugural annual conference (Powering the UK’s Nuclear Future) which was attended by close to 100 people from all aspects of the nuclear industry, coming together to hear about opportunities and support for the sector in the South West.

Key note speaker was Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association. Following him there was a wide range of presentations from industry, stakeholder organisations and SMEs. These included EDF Energy, the Ministry of Defence, James Fisher Nuclear, Costain, Hydrock, Waldeck Consulting, Somerset County Council and Local Enterprise Partnership, National College for Nuclear, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Hinkley Supply Chain Team, APEC, Women in Nuclear and the South West Nuclear Hub.

On Tuesday, close to 100 people from businesses from all aspects of the nuclear industry gathered in Bristol to hear about opportunities in and support for the nuclear industry in the South West. For more information including links to the presentations visit:

Heart of the South West Growth Hub Update

Supplier directory is now live on the Growth Hub website - Our Supplier Directory provides free listings of companies that deliver business support services in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. You can filter organisations by location, type of support provided such as consultancy, mentoring, events and also by business topic such as start-up, finance, developing and growing. The directory is aimed at private sector business support providers. If you would like to be added to our Growth Hub Supplier Directory please complete the registration form: You will be provided with a log in which will allow you to manage your listing and update it as required.

Partnership Networking event - The next event is taking place on the 13th October at Somerset Energy Innovation Centre, Bridgwater. Join us to hear updates from SWMAS on new support available, catch up with colleagues on current business support activities and services, hear the latest from the Heart of the South West LEP, talk to the Growth Hub about working with us, find out about the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre facilities and have a look around. Book Now

Update from Connecting Devon and Somerset

As of this month, the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Programme had delivered 1,414 fibre cabinets that have allowed 316,264 premises access to fibre broadband, of which 263,187 premises have access to superfast broadband (>24mbps) - an increase of 35,874 premises since the beginning of the year. The programme remains on track to deliver its contracted target of 277,878 superfast connections by the end of this phase in December 2016.

In 2015 CDS appointed Airband, a specialist in high speed wireless broadband for rural areas, to roll out the £4.6m Connecting Dartmoor and Exmoor Programme. The first part of the second phase of the CDS programme will connect 5,800 premises across Dartmoor and Exmoor using wireless broadband technology. This is largest wireless broadband project in England; the first areas on Dartmoor went live in August and new areas are being released on a weekly basis.

Exmoor will soon see its first connections, and the project is on schedule to meet its contracted completion date of December 2016.

The CDS partnership launched its tender opportunity for phase 2; for areas outside of the National Parks; in July.

It’s intended that the £39.5m public sector funding will attract additional private sector investment to deliver Next Generation Access broadband services - a minimum of 30 Mega bites per second (Mbps) and ultrafast broadband (speeds greater than 100 Mbps) to many tens of thousands more homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset in mainly rural areas. For the latest developments on Connecting Devon and Somerset visit:

Business mentors start work with schools

A team of over 30 business mentors have now been recruited and have begun working with schools throughout the Heart of the South West LEP area. The Enterprise Advisers are part of the Enterprise Adviser Network, a new project, designed to forge greater links between schools and businesses.

Following a recruitment campaign throughout the summer, each volunteer business mentor was matched with a school throughout Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay. This month, each Enterprise Adviser has started work with their allocated school, helping to identify new ideas and create a bespoke action plan.

Funding for the project was secured by HotSW LEP, in conjunction with the four upper tier local authorities. The Enterprise Adviser Network encourages employers and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

If you are interested in applying, you can still do so, as the aim is to roll out the project to all schools as additional funding becomes available. Initially the project will run in 36 schools across the Heart of the South West area.

To find out more visit

Invest in the Heart of the South West

The HotSW Inward Investment Manager hosted visits from Department for International Trade (DIT) team members from two of the region’s key sectors recently.

John Strang, The Marine Sector Manager covering trade and inward investment, visited Plymouth to see key sites such as Oceansgate and exciting companies including MSubs, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the SC Group. John’s visit was planned around the South Coast Marine Cluster meeting, where he met industry experts from across the South Coast including from Exeter University, the University of Plymouth’s Marine Centre and Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre.

Paul McCaffrey, Deputy Director of Civil Nuclear for DIT attended the inaugural Nuclear South West Industry Network dinner and conference in Bristol last week, where he met Nuclear South West partners, including from Somerset’s National College for Nuclear and the University of Bristol’s South West Nuclear Hub.

Julia Stuckey, HotSW Inward Investment Manager said “It is vital to keep promoting our key capabilities and unique inward investment opportunities to the various Department for International Trade teams, both within the UK and the Overseas Posts. These key contacts are often the first port of call for potential foreign direct investors, so we need to keep our region at the forefront. We also ask our local companies to give constructive feedback during DIT visits, so the national teams can ensure that future strategy and campaigns suit the business community’s needs, particularly important post-Brexit”.

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