View this email in your browser
February 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.

Introduction - Chris Garcia, Chief Executive


As the country debates European membership we continue to strive for the best deals possible for our area - currently we’re gearing up for our anticipated role to provide Technical Assistance to new applicants for European funding, so we’ve planned two events in March to help a broader selection of organisations to apply.

In the wider arena of support for business, we’re pleased to have announced the launch of the Heart of the South West Growth Hub this month, which has been commissioned to provide a single point of contact for all business advice and signposting. There’s also a series of Pop-Up Business Cafés that run alongside the start of the Service for All Growth Hub; these provide short, free of charge consultations with experts at established café venues throughout the area.

The latest news on Devolution is that all of the Local Authorities in the area have ratified the prospectus and further updates on progress will be made by the Devolution Project Management office, led by the LAs, and published on our website.

We can happily report that since our last newsletter, the government has agreed to fund a study into railway improvements between London and Devon and Cornwall to look at what more can be done to existing track, signalling and other railway infrastructure to improve line speed and ensure the full benefits of the new trains coming onto the network are realised.

The study will inform a report which the Peninsula Rail Task Force is providing to the government this summer, and the consideration of future funding for improvements to the railway.
Finally, we’ve an update on some of the projects funded by the Growth Deal; of which many more will start to take shape on the ground in the coming months.

HotSW Growth Hub Launched

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub has been launched this month; the Service for All contract has been awarded to south west business support provider Peninsula Enterprise.

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub will launch in March and is available for all businesses, whatever size or sector, in the Heart of the South West area that covers Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. The aim of the contract is to help over 4000 businesses in the three year period.

The Growth Hub will be a single point of contact, completely free at the point of access, for all businesses seeking advice and support on any issues relating to the operations and aspirations of their business; signposting to international, national or local resources.

Enquiries can be about anything that a business may want to ask; whether they are looking for information on new funding opportunities from grants or loans, where to go for tax advice or help with their expansion plans, innovation or export.

A core value of the Heart of the South West Growth Hub is to simplify the often confusing range of local and national, public and private sector business support services that are on offer in the UK, so that businesses can make an informed choice about what type of support is best for them.

The signposting service is offered free as part of the HotSW LEP’s Growth Deal funding, and the expert business support advisors will be on hand to deal with questions themselves or refer to experts in specialist areas.

It will be accessible through a website, telephone line and face to face workshops and clinics taking place at enterprise and innovation centres across the HotSW area. Businesses can email or telephone 03456 047 047 to register their interest with the Growth Hub Service, alternatively they can visit the interim website and complete the business support enquiry form here.

Growth Hub Briefing & Recruitment Opportunities

A Growth Hub Partner Briefing & Networking Session is arranged for 10am-12pm on Friday 4 March at Exeter Science Park.

This first session is an open invitation (subject to room capacity) aimed primarily at business support providers and stakeholders with an interest in the Growth Hub. Those wishing to attend should contact and places will be confirmed by return.

The Growth Hub is now recruiting for two Business Advisers. The successful applicants will be part of a small team who are the first point of contact and who provide a comprehensive and impartial diagnostic, sign-posting and referral service for business enquiries. To apply, go to Serco Careers Reference 71514

Heart of the South West Pop-Up Business Cafes


Organised in the lead-up to the Growth Hub, from March until the end of April, HotSW LEP will run a series of Pop-Up Business Cafés at established café venues across the area. These will be informal events co-hosted with a local business organisation offering free, one-to-one ‘no pressure, no sales pitch’ advice from volunteer business experts. The Business Cafés are for budding and experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The business cafés aim to raise awareness of the benefits of business support and the range of support available to them locally to make their organisation more productive and successful.

The service is a forerunner to the main service for all element of the Growth Hub which will start very soon. The HotSW website will be regularly updated with the latest events in your area, in the meantime the following events have been arranged:
Tue 15 - Shaul’s Café, Bridgwater
Wed 16 - Plymouth Science Park
Thu 17 - Riverside Café, Taunton
Fri 18 – Jelly Café, Newton Abbot & Yeovil Innovation Centre
Tue 22 - Plymouth Skills Summit – Guildhall, Plymouth
Thu 24 - Rumpus Cosy – Plymouth Social Enterprise Network Focus
1 April - Old Church School, Frome
5 April -  Wavemark, Ivybridge
6 April - Fresha Café, Exeter
12 April - Lilico’s, Barnstaple
13 April -  Gerties Café, Bideford  
19 April - Enterprise Hub, Tavistock
The Pop-Up Business Cafés will run from 8am to 12 mid-day.

Business Leadership Group update from LEP Director Nick Ames


A major step forward has been made in the LEP’s drive to raise productivity in the Heart of the South West by the appointment of Peninsula Enterprise to deliver our flagship business support service – the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

As you can read in this newsletter, the appointment is to provide a world-class business support service to help all regional businesses find guidance on any subject that can help with their growth plans.

The Growth Hub launch is being preceded by a series of Business Cafes around the region that all businesses are invited to come along and meet experts in a variety of support themes in March and April.

Another initiative to widen the reach of business involvement is the LEP’s plan to provide Technical Assistance to applicants of EU funding. This is happening against a backdrop of the raging Brexit debate.  In this regard we continue to work on the premise of “business as usual” in our role to deliver the best opportunities possible for the HotSW area through EU funding streams.  We need to keep up the pace in promoting the many opportunities on offer to as diverse range of businesses and other organisations who may be potential grant recipients.

So I encourage my peers in the private sector business community to keep abreast of EU funding calls through the HotSW LEP website, and consider what projects they may have that bring mutually beneficial growth to their own company and the wider economy.

Our Technical Assistance events in March are there to help prospective businesses and other organisations seek guidance on funding and eligibility. Any organisation that is considering applying for funding should take part in these events which aim to guide them through the process and perhaps help identify partners to submit joint proposals with.

Technical Assistance European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Applicants


Register now for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Information Events

April 2016 will see the launch of a new round of ERDF funding opportunities. In the Heart of the South West, monies are expected to be available to support:

  • Initiatives to further innovation in the marine, environmental futures, big data and healthy ageing areas of economic activity in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only;    
  • Activity to support the start-up and growth of social enterprises in the Heart of the South West;
  • Enterprise/incubation space in the Heart of the South West where the market has failed to provide and there is evidenced unmet demand; 
  • Activity to support SMEs to take advantage of new digital technologies in the Heart of the South West. 
To aid potential applicants in preparing for and engaging with these ERDF funding opportunities, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is holding two half-day ERDF information and networking events.
Events will take place from 13.30 to 16.30 on:
  • Wednesday 16 March 2016 at the Westpoint Centre, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, EX5 1DJ; 
  • Thursday 17 March at Taunton Rugby Football Club, Hyde Park, Hyde Lane, Taunton, TA2 8BU
The deadline for registrations is 5pm on Monday 7 March via Eventbrite links on the HotSW website.  Events are free to attend and places will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. The events are funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Local Growth Fund.
European Social Fund (ESF)
New ESF funding opportunities are also expected to come on stream in the coming months.
We expect the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to launch ESF procurement processes for the Heart of the South West in March / April, with anticipated themes of:
  • Support for young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET);
  • Basic and intermediate workforce skills; and
  • Apprenticeship services.
Furthermore, April is expected to see the launch of two open ESF calls for:
  • Higher-level skills; and
  • Activity to link students and graduates to industry and retain higher-level skills.

Further information will be added to the Heart of the South West LEP website as this becomes available.  

Heart of the South West Growth Deal Update


Many of the infrastructure projects that the LEP has secured Growth Deal funding for begin to take shape this spring, with new transport schemes starting on site and further developments at Plymouth and Exeter Science Parks, including the near-completion of the new building to house the Met Office Supercomputer, which re-enforces the area’s strengths in the science and technology sectors. 

Last week the first tenants to sign up to Plymouth Science Park’s new multi-million pound development, Intelligent Optimisations, were welcomed to the site for the formal signing with HotSW LEP Chief Executive, Chris Garcia and partners from Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Science Park and Plymouth University. 

Plymouth Science Park is one of the leading Science Parks in the UK and houses 90 businesses employing 900 people, and this latest phase is part-funded by £3m investment from the HotSW LEP Growth Deal.

Earlier this month the The Met Office and Exeter Science Park celebrated the “topping out” ceremony in the construction of the new High Performance Computing (HPC) Complex. HotSW LEP Growth Deal delivered some of the essential infrastructure needed to make this pioneering facility a reality. 

One of the first Growth Deal funded road schemes also started on site this month: the widening of Bridge Road in Exeter. The scheme is being funded using a combination of developer contributions as well as £5.3m from Growth Deal and it’s part of a portfolio of significant projects that will open up the transport infrastructure and have a positive effect on the economy. Updates on all these schemes will be published via HotSW press releases and this newsletter.

HotSW Careers Enterprise Co-ordinator and Advisor Service


HotSW LEP is launching a Careers Enterprise Co-ordinator and Advisor service to schools across the area. It’s a new opportunity for schools and businesses to work together and support young people to make well-informed choices about their future career and job opportunities.

The project is jointly funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency, and will initially support 36 schools across the Heart of the South West.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which will help schools work with volunteer enterprise advisors to engage with businesses and enhance young people’s understanding of their career opportunities within the local workplace.

The project will add value to the career-focussed activities already happening in schools. It will provide support for the schools’ teachers and senior leadership teams to develop a closer awareness of the skills needs of local businesses, so that young people are fully aware of the employment landscape; helping them make the right decisions for themselves when choosing what qualifications and careers to strive for. More information will be announced this week on the HotSW LEP website about this important new service.

Funding Streams for the Creative, Digital & Design Community


A selection of funding streams is currently available, with more information at the following links:
Innovate UK is offering 6 businesses up to £30,000 (excluding VAT) each to encourage innovation in the sharing economy, across the themes of trust, tourism and travel, opening up new sectors, home improvement, construction, and data and analytics. More details can be found here.

The European funding programme Horizon 2020 has €80 billion available for research and innovation for the next five years. Many calls are relevant to creative and digital businesses and can provide significant R&D opportunities and a platform to expand into the European market place.
The Knowledge Transfer Network is running a number of activities to find out more about what's on offer and to help businesses build European partnerships to respond to funding calls. More details can be found here
Creative Europe
Creative Europe is the European Union's programme to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors. From 2014-2020, €1.46 billion is available to support European projects with the potential to travel, reach new audiences and encourage skill sharing and development. Launched in January 2014, Creative Europe brings together a Culture sub-programme, which provides funding for the cultural and creative sectors, and a MEDIA sub-programme, which invests in film, television, new media and games. More details can be found here. 

Copyright © 2016 Heart of the South West, All rights reserved.