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September 2015

September 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.
Issue 15 | September 2015
People Group
The People Group page contains information about the group, including terms of reference, previous meeting minutes and research reports. Please visit regularly to keep up to date.

About the Skills Newsletter
Produced by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership's People Group, this monthly newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

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 influencing economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

Introduction – Chris Garcia, HotSW Chief Executive

A lot has happened this month. For example we held our first annual Business Conference and celebrated some of our successes and unique selling points of the HotSW area with our partners. We were delighted that many of those who have played a part in delivering this success were able to attend.

We’re very proud to showcase the range of achievements that the HotSW LEP has secured over the last 12 months, including the largest allocation of Growth Deal funding in the country; an Enterprise Zone at South Yard in Plymouth and 13 successful inward investment landings generating 340 new jobs. Only this month I was at the opening of Wolf Minerals – the first new mine in the UK to be opened for 45 years – and a real testament to the confidence of inward investment in the HotSW area.

It was a happy coincidence that on the day of our conference; the Chancellor announced further elements of the government backing for Hinkley – which will generate 25,000 new jobs - and DEFRA announced the first Food Enterprise Zone with an LDO in the country has been allocated to the Bath & West showground, another great coup for the HotSW area.

As we approach the 12 month anniversary of the signing of the first round of the Growth Deal worth £270m, we see a number of the funded infrastructure projects taking shape this month, including the new roundabout at Huntspill, which will enable employment land generating 1700 jobs;  Phase 5 of Plymouth Science Park; work at Torquay Gateway to improve the access to the town; and further progress with the Plymouth City College STEM Centre, Exeter Science Park, the Flood Action Plan and Somerset Energy Innovation Centre.

In the last few weeks we’ve also submitted our proposal for new Enterprise Zones at across three sites in the Heart of the South West, and we await the decision of government.

We are now waiting with great interest the decisions from Westminster on the outcomes of the Comprehensive Spending Review. This will impact in relation to further LEP and Growth Deal funding, and signpost possible other opportunities for devolved freedoms and flexibilities. We are already supporting our partners in the local authorities to create a deal for increased powers, and so we await word from parliament and Whitehall on the implications for our area of the Spending Review.

We’ll continue to keep you informed of the latest developments through this newsletter, releases to the media and our twitter account. Our website is currently being updated with all the latest from the business conference including a set of downloadable information materials about the LEP which you may wish to use when meeting your own contacts and partners.

Heart of the South West LEP 1st Annual Business Conference attracts 250 cross sector delegates

The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership held its first business conference this week, 21st September, which is set to become an annual feature in the HotSW calendar.

The event was a resounding success, with 250 delegates from the HotSW business and partnership community.

Productivity was the theme of the conference, which opened with a welcome speech from HotSW LEP Chair Steve Hindley, outlining some of the distinctive assets of the area, followed by presentations on HotSW LEP achievements.

Delegates took part in a series of break-out seminars on export, employment & skills, innovation and EU funding; with presentations on sector specialisms including nuclear, electronics & photonics, marine, environmental futures and big data.

Feedback from business generated throughout the conference will be collated to improve the engagement of the HotSW LEP with local businesses; and findings will be published in on the HotSW website at

ESIF update

The four European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) calls for the Heart of the South West (HotSW) launched at the end of July relating to: supporting SMEs to develop ideas and products; the HotSW Growth Hub; small business support; and the Hinkley Supply Chain have now closed.

It is expected that the first ESF funding opportunities through the Big Lottery Fund opt-in will be launched in the HotSW in October, including calls for applications in relation to: Support for young people aged 15-18 years who are not in employment, education or training; Employment support for 18 year olds plus in Somerset; Employment support for 18-24 year olds in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay; and: Employment support for 25 year olds plus in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.

Funding opportunities through the Skills Funding Agency are also expected to go live before the end of 2015; and funding opportunities through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) opt-in for employment pathways are expected to come on stream in 2016.

For organisations interested in applying for the BIG Lottery opportunities, South West Forum have put together a database of interested organisations in order to facilitate partnership working which can be found on their website.

It is anticipated than a call under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) will be launched shortly, focusing on rural tourism assets and infrastructure.

Details of all open ESI Funds calls can be found on the GOV.UK's ESIF page.

For more information about the full European Structural Investment Fund visit:
For questions about the ESIF programme, individual calls or funding applications, please refer your query direct to DCLG by emailing: :


Heart of the South West Growth Hub update

The LEP is driving forward with getting the new Growth Hub in place by Jan 2016. For businesses, our Growth Hub will appear as a one-stop-shop, however, there are three different elements which will be procured separately: Base Service for All; The Growth Hub Brokerage Service; and Targeted Support Services for businesses.
A key milestone has been reached – A Prior Information Notice (PIN) has just been published for the Service to All element and businesses that may want to tender for this important contract have until 12 October for expressions of interest. Business who express interest will be alerted when the tender documentation is released.
The Heart of the South West LEP Growth Hub will be a single point of access and sign posting service for business information, advice and guidance in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.  It follows the Peninsula City Deal Growth Hub which closed in July, and supported over 1000 businesses to access information, advice and guidance.
The LEP is now in a transition period before the new service is in place in early 2016. In the meantime, businesses can access advice from the national helpline and website: Telephone 0300 456 3565 Textphone: 0208 742 8620 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm or visit
The purpose of a Growth Hub service is to provide independent diagnosis and brokerage to existing business support services. It will be a first-stop-shop which will engage with business via various platforms. It will support and link in with existing local and national initiatives without duplicating their offer. The Growth Hub is the HotSW LEP's main mechanism of engaging with businesses across the area.
The PIN and any subsequent procurement advertisement and competition documentation is available through the eTender portal listing for Somerset County Council on :


September Board Update

HotSW LEP formally welcomed its two newly appointed non-executive directors at its September Board meeting on Wednesday 16 September: Martha Wilkinson and Martin Brown.

The two new members were recruited as part of a HotSW wide advertisement asking for a strong entrepreneurial background, with the skills to help take forward the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Martha Wilkinson and Martin Brown bring new and diverse experience to the LEP Board; Martha is Chief Executive of Devon Community Foundation, which tackles disadvantage and deprivation across the HotSW area; and Martin has a background in software and high-technology businesses at a senior level.

Other news from the Board includes their desire to increase momentum to keep up the pressure on the Government and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to progress with Growth Deal funding and commit to investment in the HotSW area, including the key actions on connectivity already articulated through the Peninsula Rail Task Force. HotSW LEP awaits the decision on its submission for a further cross-LEP Enterprise Zone, building on the recently announced Zone in Plymouth, which the board gave its support to.

The Devolution Statement of Intent which was sent to government last month, and signed by all HotSW LEP local authority partners, was discussed at length and hailed as the start of a long journey towards increased local powers, rather than a blueprint for Devolution at this stage. The partners will work together with a view to develop the area’s firm proposal, and the LEP will play an active role in helping to develop this.

A clear direction from the Board is for the LEP to gather a strong evidence base of business needs and skills and labour requirements from the private sector; all LEP business directors would be actively involved and the LEP Board members in the further and higher education sectors offered to help build the links between business and education and training providers.

Hinkley Supply Chain

HotSW LEP has commissioned a new initiative to continue to provide support for local businesses, helping them to win contracts for providing goods and services to the Hinkley Point C project.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Industry has won the contract, through their Hinkley Enabling Team.

HotSW LEP recognises the significant economic impacts that Hinkley Point C will bring for the area, and the need to ensure that local businesses are supported to be ‘Hinkley Ready’.

The project offers both many opportunities and challenges for businesses and due to the sheer size and complexity of the work packages and requirements specialist business support is essential.

Supply Chain support to date has already seen South West businesses win £22M of contracts.

More information is available at:


South West Nuclear Cluster Development

The HotSW LEP New Nuclear coordinator organised a seminar last week to support the development of a South West Nuclear Cluster, bringing together partners including three South West LEPs, Somerset Chamber and relevant public bodies involved in the nuclear sector, to explore how the South West can maximise on opportunities for growth relating to the industry, and that is recognised by all as a global leader for nuclear expertise.

It was held at Leigh Court in Bristol to coincide with the launch of the Nuclear South West initiative - an industry-led nuclear sector business network. The network will be a key element in the development of our profile as a cluster of global significance.

Further developments on this exciting new initiative will be reported in this newsletter, on the Heart of the South West LEP website and via joint communication with Nuclear South West and partners.

DEFRA Food Enterprise Zone in Somerset is first to secure LDO for new development.

Food and rural businesses hoping to grow their business, could be set to benefit from a new simplified planning scheme and discretionary rate relief opportunities in mid Somerset.  Mendip District Council has underlined its commitment to supporting new development schemes for food, agri-tech and other rural businesses by approving a new Local Development Order (LDO) for part of the development scheme at the Royal Bath and West Showground site near Shepton Mallet.

The Bath and West Showground is already worth £164m to the UK economy, and this further development will support new investment and economic growth and bring another unique asset to the HotSW area.

The LDO for the site in effect grants full planning permission in advance for specific types of development outlined within the order and subject to conditions. Granting the LDO can attract new business


Work to start on transformational landmark building for Bridgwater

Construction of a 4 star hotel in Bridgwater starts today, 30 September, with funding from the HotSW LEP Growing Places fund of £4.5m, designed to create jobs and boost economic growth.

The £9 million project on a landmark building will have a transformational effect on the whole area, by improving local infrastructure and creating 300 new jobs in the construction, hospitality and retail sectors.

The old ‘Co-Op’ red brick building will be demolished to make way for a 100+-bedroomed hotel with destination restaurant, bar, associated car parking, commercial units and landscaping by DC Homes and Investments Ltd.

Plymouth Science Park Phase 5 underway

The first turf was cut last Friday 25 September at the beginning of a £7m development at Plymouth Science Park. The new building will be called ‘One Research Way’ and is the fifth stage of development across the Science Park, designed as a centre of excellence for e-commerce, digital creative and life science businesses with space for up to 200 people.

The build has been made possible by collaboration with Plymouth University, HotSW LEP through Growth Deal 1 and Plymouth City Council.

Plymouth Science Park is home to some of the area’s most prized intellectual property spin-out companies, as well as thriving medical and dental schools, and plays a key role in linking academic expertise and talented graduates with potential partners and employers in the private sector.


Cross-LEP initiative promoting opportunities in marine sector

HotSW Marine sector supports 7,500 jobs in the area, and is worth £410m in GVA, which is 19% of that of the whole UK’s marine sector, and this share is forecast to increase by 2.7% per annum to 2031.

Earlier this month, HotSW Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, joined with a South West LEP consortium in partnership with the Association of British Ports to explore opportunities for growth in this thriving sector.

There’s manufacturing potential with new build and maintenance, repair and operations capability and advanced engineering & manufacturing, composites specialisms with supply chains across the area. Key companies include Princess Yachts, Babcock, Kawazaki and Supacat. There’s strong R & D support with Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory; and the South West Marine Energy Park.

Current and planned activity joint-LEP activity includes promotion through HotSW, Cornwall, Dorset & Solent LEPs’ Inward Investment teams ,with UKTI collaboration; Mapping the capability in a South coast cluster and Identifying commercial opportunities, USPs and supply chain gaps.

Focus is on South West collaboration not competition, building on the joint strengths of inward investment opportunities across the key marine business locations across the area to promote a strong UK offer in the global marketplace. Further updates will be reported upon in this newsletter as the collaboration progresses.


Opportunities for grant funding are available for expanding businesses in the South West.

Opportunities still exist for companies to apply for grant funding through the Unlocking Business Investment programme.

The £5million scheme, open to businesses across the HotSW area, provides grants of between £25,000 and £499,000 to businesses with firm plans for expansion.

North Devon+ has already successfully awarded 25 local businesses to receive funds totalling almost £1.7million through the scheme, creating over 200 jobs.

Grants must be match funded from private and/or commercial sources with a key output of new jobs created. Projects and expenditure must be completed by March 2017 and jobs created by March 2019.

The Unlocking Business Investment programme is open to businesses now. Please contact - for more information.


LEP Social Economy Survey – deadline extended to the 16 October 2015.

Social enterprises, voluntary and charitable organisations play a unique role in the South West’s economy. But statistics to show this are lacking. Therefore, the Heart of the SW LEP is undertaking a survey in order to promote and support the sector more in the future. Organisations of all sizes and types which make a contribution to the social economy in the South West are encouraged to take part in this survey. Organisations can opt-in to be included in an online directory.

Please follow this link to take part:  Social Economy Survey

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