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November 2015

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 keeps 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 – Paul Taylor, Head of Strategy and Operations

Progress has been made on a number of important initiatives over the last few weeks for the Heart of the South West.
HotSW LEP is a partner in a Statement of Intent for Devolution submitted to government, which sets out our broad aims to improve productivity, health and wellbeing, connectivity and resilience through increased local powers. Business organisations in the area are asking for the views of HotSW businesses on what they see as the opportunities presented by devolution, and there’s a link to a survey below which we would like you to share with your networks to generate a meaningful level of feedback.
The largest project in our area -  indeed the largest project in Europe – Hinkley Point C– took a major step forward in October when the UK and Chinese government agreed the outline of a deal to fund the construction of the new power station which will generate 25,000 new jobs in the Heart of the South West.
Last Friday the tender opened for the “Service for All” element of the Heart of the South West Growth Hub – which will provide a one-stop shop for business support and advice to help HotSW businesses grow and raise productivity.
As we move ahead we look forward to working with our new partners in the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce and Somerset Chamber of Commerce who have both appointed new CEOs, and Cornwall LEP has a new chair, Mark Duddridge, who we will be working closely with on cross-LEP initiatives such as our mutual connectivity and resilience campaigns.
Presentations from the Annual Business Conference are now available on our website so those who were not able to attend can get a flavour of the topics discussed and see the latest round up of LEP achievements. There’s also a set of downloadable PDFs of the information pack available here for you to share with partners and colleagues to keep them informed about the LEP.
As we await the announcements later this month from the Autumn Statement and Compulsory Spending Review, we urge partners and government to recognise the incredible potential of the Heart of the South West given the necessary investment in infrastructure and skills. Firm proposals for any future Growth Deal funding, the Enterprise Zone and increased powers through devolution are expected to become clearer following the outcomes of the government’s budget planning, so we’ll keep you informed on the latest developments as we become aware of them.


Latest news from Hinkley Point C

On 21 October EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) signed a Strategic Investment Agreement for the construction and operation of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, in the presence of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Click here for the full story from EDF Energy.

25,000 new jobs will be created through the Hinkley; and HotSW LEP is harnessing the potential presented by this once-in-a-lifetime project to boost economic prosperity; generate thousands of training places for local people; and ensure south west businesses benefit from the supply chain opportunities. More details are available on the HotSW website which will updated with new information on Hinkley as the project progresses.

HotSW LEP will continue to develop pipeline projects with partners to generate the maximum legacy benefits. Current projects include Employment and Skills projects through Bridgwater College; Hinkley Point Training Agency and Job Centre Plus; a Hinkley enabling group to address housing needs; and – detailed in the articles below - the Hinkley Supply Chain and the South West Nuclear Cluster - charged with creating a sustainable legacy for businesses from the catalyst of Hinkley.

South West Nuclear Cluster

HotSW LEP is working hard to ensure that the first new nuclear build project in the UK for a generation provides a lasting sustainable economic legacy for the HotSW area and beyond.
A partnership of stakeholders has been established under the banner: South West Nuclear Cluster – in order to secure the benefits of this investment to the local business & resident community. The partnership includes HotSW LEP, West of England LEP and Gloucester First LEP; business consortiums and local authorities.
The South West Nuclear Cluster aims to develop initiatives to ensure that business and the workforce have the capability and skills that are required at the right time.
Latest progress includes a meeting of the South West Cluster group on 22 September. Presentations were provided by Nucleopolis: the Normandy Nuclear Cluster and Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).

The event coincided with the launch of Nuclear South West, an industry led nuclear sector business network coordinated by Business South West.

Over the next few months HotSW LEP will be working with key stakeholders in progressing the Nuclear Cluster activity to ensure that the South West is positioned and recognised by Government as a global leader for nuclear expertise.
More information including the papers and presentations from the 22 September meeting are available here.


Hinkley Supply Chain Team

As part of its procurement strategy for Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy has partnered with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce to manage the Hinkley Supply Chain team which is delivering a solution for EDF Energy and its contractors by engaging with South West businesses that want to become part of the supply chain.

The Hinkley Supply Chain Team is mapping the capabilities of Somerset and South West businesses against Hinkley project requirements and matching suppliers to EDF Energy and contractor work packages, and is a broker for relevant business support to help suppliers meet the quality and safety standards required.

Potential suppliers can register their interest and update their supplier profile here and keep up to date on the latest news on the Hinkley C project, the work packages and awarded contracts. HotSW LEP encourages HotSW businesses to register and take up the opportunities for growth presented by the project; and The Hinkley Supply chain covers the whole of the south west of England and part of south Wales. A map of the areas covered is available here .


Industry event -  #Nuclear – Powering the UK

#Nuclear - Powering the UK - is the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference which will showcase the industry’s achievements over the past 12 months and the valuable contribution nuclear power provides to the UK.  The event will draw together speakers and panellists from across industry, government and beyond and allow delegates to establish links across the industry.

The conference takes place on 3 December at the Park Plaza Victoria in London and will cover all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle from new build and operations to decommissioning and waste management. Registration for the conference here

Heart of the South West Growth Hub “Service for All” tender open

HotSW LEP is driving forward with getting the new Growth Hub in place by early 2016. For businesses, our Growth Hub will appear as a one-stop-shop, however, there are three different elements which will be procured separately: Service for All; The Growth Hub Brokerage Service; and Targeted Support Services for businesses.
Somerset County Council as the accountable body for HotSW LEP has published the ITT (Invitation to Tender) for the new Service for All element.  
The advert has been published on the government contract finder page and on Ted-tenders - the electronic supplement to the Official Journal of the EU.
The contract listing can be found here. Alternatively, interested suppliers can search for ‘Somerset County Council’ on  for the tender.
Expressions of Interest and clarification questions can be submitted until 2pm on 23 November. Interested suppliers will then have until 2pm on 30 November to submit a tender for the service.
While the Heart of the South West Growth Hub is in this transition period in preparation for the commission of the new service, businesses can get advice from the national helpline and website: The Business Growth Service - telephone 0300 456 3565 Textphone: 0208 742 8620 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm or visit:


Opportunities for grant funding still available for expanding businesses in the South West Unlocking Business Investment programme

Unlocking Business Investment (UBI) has already successfully awarded 25 local businesses to receive funds totalling almost £1.7million and there is still a further £2.7m to access.
The UBI programme is in partnership with Plymouth University’s GAIN Team, North Devon Council and Torridge District Councils.  Supported by the Heart of the West Local Enterprise Partnership and funded through the Regional Growth Fund, the scheme is designed to stimulate private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable jobs. More information is available at:


South West Growth Fund

The South West Growth Fund is designed to kick start investment and create 1,000 jobs in the South West of England. The scheme is a collaboration between SWMAS Ltd, Plymouth University’s GAIN team, South West Water Business Services and the Western Morning News.

£8.7m of grant funding is available to help unlock £22m of private sector investment across the South West. Grants of up to £1m are available to support capital expenditure and training.
Businesses can apply for the South West Growth Fund by visiting and registering at:


European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

New European Structural and Investment Funding opportunities have recently been launched in relation to rural tourism and social inclusion in the Heart of the South West. 
Through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) tourism call, rural businesses, communities, farmers and landowners can apply for grants from £35,000 to approximately £140,000 for projects which support the development of visitor attractions, tourist information and small-scale tourism infrastructure. The deadline for outline applications is 5pm on 8 January 2016. Further information is available here.
Through the Big Lottery’s ‘Building Better Opportunities’ European Social Fund (ESF) opt-in, a total of c. £13 million of funding is available to support young people and those furthest form the labour market to move towards and into training and employment. The deadline for stage one applications is 12 noon on 30 November 2015. Further information on ‘Building Better Opportunities’ can be found on the Big Lottery website, with details of specific Heart of the South West funding opportunities available here.  
The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) which is one of the opt-in partners for ESF, has re-opened the Registry of Training Organisations (ROTO) until 13 November. Organisations need to be registered in order to apply for any SFA procurements, including ESF. Click here for more information.

The Interreg 2 Seas Programme 2014-2020 is a cross-border cooperation programme that aims to facilitate cooperation between England and France, Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands.
The programme offers a reimbursement of up to 60% of total project budget for high quality projects on the topics of innovation (technological and social), low carbon technologies, climate adaptation, resource efficiency and circular economy.
Interreg is currently preparing the launch of its 2nd call for proposals, and is planning a series of information seminars to explain the programme and funding possibilities to potential future applicants.
Organisations working on any of these topics, and those interested in working with partners abroad, are invited come to the South West seminar in Taunton on 10 November. Places can be booked by contacting Susan Aitken at: by the end of tomorrow (Friday 5th November)..


Chambers of Commerce news

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce has appointed Dale Edwards as its new CEO and Plymouth and Devon Chamber has appointed George Cowcher as its new CEO.
For the last nine years George Cowcher has been Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, and takes the helm at Plymouth and Devon Chamber following the departure of Peter Hartland, the former Chief Executive who stepped down from the role in September. George, who previously worked for the former South West Regional Development Agency, knows the Plymouth and Devon area well. He was attracted to the challenge of leading Plymouth and Devon Chamber by the enormous potential of the area and his wish to "give something back" to his home region.
Dale Edwards brings extensive and varied experience in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations, with proven leadership and business development skills. Based in the Blackdown Hills, Dale is a familiar face with many in the South West as he spent six and a half years as the Chief Executive of the Exeter Leukaemia Fund. He joins the Somerset Chamber following the recent departure of Neil Murphy.


British Chamber of Commerce survey places importance on pre-16 work experience

A huge majority of business, school and college leaders want ministers to recognise the importance of pre-16 work experience, according to a new survey published by British Chambers of Commerce. The survey of over 3,500 business bosses and education leaders found that 82% of business respondents and 75% of respondents from schools, colleges and universities believe that secondary schools should offer work experience for pupils aged under 16. In the South West 87% of educational establishments who responded to the survey support this call.

View full details of the survey and the infographic of results for the South West here


Views of business called for in devolution survey

Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce, Somerset Chamber of Commerce, Devon and Cornwall Business Council, and business organisations across the region would like the help of local businesses to better understand their views on the opportunities presented by devolution.
All HotSW businesses and valued strategic partners are asked to share this survey with their networks and ask for participation from the business community to help generate as much feedback as possible to input into this important debate.

The survey can be completed here:


Connecting Devon and Somerset ahead of schedule for superfast broadband delivery

Phase 1 of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme – which aims to achieve 90% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2016 – is ahead of schedule with 217,000 premises connected.
Survey work is underway for 20 business parks that have been added into the current BT contract for Phase 1. This means that over 1,000 additional businesses will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2016.
Phase 1 is two-thirds complete, and is on time to achieve the government target. A recent audit by the independent Devon Audit Partnership concluded that CDS project is being managed to a high standard and substantial reliance can be placed on its procedures.
The tender for Phase 2 of the programme – for 95% premises to have superfast broadband, is expected to be launched in February 2016 with a view to having contracts in place by June. Details of the project and the tendering process is available at:
Part of the Phase 2 programme – to deliver superfast broadband to premises across Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks – is already underway with specialist contract Airband undertaking survey work across these areas with the first wave of premises expected to be connected early in 2016.


Local businesses sought to join a focus panel to help improve regulatory support

A focus panel is to be set up by Better Business for All (BBFA) to help Devon & Somerset Regulatory Services develop their activities. They are looking for businesses to sit on the focus panel and provide a wider business perspective to BBFA; to ensure the programme has a positive impact and answers the needs of local business.
Businesses looking to take part or requiring more information can contact Tim Milsom at Devon & Somerset Trading Standards Service: by the end of November.
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