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October 2016

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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

At the beginning of the month the LEP held its second annual conference, where we welcomed 350 business leaders and partners to an afternoon of presentations about the LEP’s activities and achievements over the last twelve months as well as a series of thought provoking seminars on our sector strengths.

I would like to thank everyone who attended, and particularly those who gave presentations, speeches, exhibited, coordinated and took part in the breakout sessions. For those unable to attend, the full programme of presentations and seminars are published here

The day was a great demonstration of how we work as a partnership creating a value far greater than the sum of the parts, and the atmosphere of the event was one of aspiration and optimism for the area we are all so proud of.

HotSW LEP is committed to delivering the benefits of our strategic work and funding bids to the companies and communities that fall directly within our area. These are our partners and are stakeholders in our successes and achievements. Sometimes business interests don’t neatly match administrative boundaries and for some time we have been working where appropriate with our neighbours on common campaigns or programmes.

Elsewhere in the country, the numerous LEPs in the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine also work together on their common agendas.

So we’ve been working with our LEP partners in Dorset and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to form a new thought-piece to market our area and its growth agenda where these cross our boundaries; which we’re calling Connecting the South West as a working title. It’s early days, but there’s real commitment in this group to build on the years of expert evidence building and strong Strategic Economic Plans that have risen from the government’s mandate to generate growth through LEPs and localism.

It’s often the case that when there is a mood and an appetite for change, that several organisations are on a similar journey, albeit in different ways. Earlier this month saw the South West Growth Summit – organised and led by Pennon and the Western Morning News – welcome businesses and local leaders to discussion panels and an inspirational speech by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, who hailed the South West as an area with “almost unlimited potential”.

We expect more to happen on this theme in the coming months and years as the South West embarks on its renaissance.

Last week I went to the EDF event on London to celebrate the opportunities for our area on the back of the massive investment by EDF and the government at Hinkley Point C.  We released tenders for the contracts for business support and inward investment, issued by Somerset CC on behalf of the LEP, to ensure that our local companies are equipped and aware of the commercial opportunities presented by Hinkley.

At the end of last month we received a Memorandum of Understanding for our triple-site Enterprise Zones at Huntspill, Exeter and Plymouth, which are key ingredients for Creating the Conditions for Growth which is part of  our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) objectives. (See the Oceansgate article below for the latest on the Plymouth EZ site and watch the new video showcasing Exeter Science Park.)

This month sees some steps forward on another element of the SEP: Maximising Productivity and Employment Opportunities. 30 new businesses mentors started to work with schools as part of the Enterprise Advisor Service, helping to address skills needs so that young people are fully aware of the rewarding careers available right here in the south west, without having to move out of the area to fulfil their potential.

Our SEP is three years old now so it’s timely that we have embarked on our preparation for development of our HotSW Productivity Plan that will take its place next year. More about that from the chair of the Business Leadership Group below. That said, this is a good time to re-familiarise ourselves with the SEP, which was the agreed amongst partners as being the blueprint for transformational growth, and is backed up all the way by a robust governance and decision making process when it comes to delivery and detailed work. Can I encourage you to visit our new website which illustrates how we work and has all of our key strategies and meetings clearly available.


Nick Ames, Business Leadership Group Chair 

We held our second Business Conference this month and as Chair of the Business Leadership group I was pleased to see so many HotSW businesses taking part and actively engaging in LEP workshops, discussions and surveys.

Business has a big part to play in the Productivity Plan being devised for the Heart of the South West, which will be a critical tool for the Local Authority led Devolution proposal. We’re starting to gather data over the next three months, after which there will be a feedback period with partners which will enable us to sketch out a vision of what the area needs; leading to detailed planning post-Christmas and delivery from March 2017.

I welcome Sajid Javid’s comments at the Growth Summit held last week by Pennon and the Western Morning News – he made his views very clear about what will drive growth in the South West – it’s Productivity all the way. We know we have a great quality of life and a passion for the area, we know we have good skills and rapidly improving connectivity, but what’s crucial to our economic success is a step change in productivity and for that we need investment in infrastructure and skills.

This was echoed at the conference as businesses voted overwhelmingly that “finding the right people” was the greatest barrier to growth. This was a small anecdotal sample but we do find that in talking to business, we keep unearthing this theme. Skills remain high on the agenda for the LEP and I am pleased to say is the significant focus of the People Leadership Group.

We look forward to the Autumn statement when we hope for new announcements on the Growth Deal 3 bid, the Transport Majors Fund and a special injection of investment we’ve asked for to fund our Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Group (BROG) see page 30 of the GD3 bid. Even if we don’t get the amount we’ve asked for though – work has started on the BROG already with a group being formed from all around the HotSW local authorities with a LEP officer resource to coordinate its findings. We’ll report more on that as work progresses.

Finally I would like to draw everyone’s attention to our new website, where information on how we work and the projects the LEP is involved in are displayed more clearly. Sometimes it may seem a long way from the day-to-day world of business to the strategic work of a Local Enterprise Partnership working with local authorities and third sector partners. Nevertheless, speaking on behalf of one of the region’s leading SMEs, I can say hand on heart that the main aims of the LEP – creating conditions for growth and maximising productivity are crucial to the success of business in this area, and when you see what projects are now taking shape on the ground as a result of this work it really brings this partnership to life.

HotSW Annual Conference Success

Over 300 delegates attended the second annual conference held by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, at Sandy Park in Exeter on 3 October.

The Conference was an opportunity for the wider LEP partnership to meet and to network with other stakeholders and consider the productivity challenge the area is facing. The event also enabled speakers and delegates to look at other key issues for our area, including Brexit and Devolution.

HotSW LEP presented its Annual Review at the conference – which gave a roundup of key achievements over the last 12 months, including:
  • The launch of the Growth Hub – a service to help any business start-up and grow.
  • An update on the half a billion-pound investment programme which is delivering a range of infrastructure and other projects to help growth.
  • Conclusion of the Rural Growth Network pilot scheme which saw the development of 8 business centres, the launch of over 100 businesses and the creation of over 350 jobs
  • The LEP has secured commitment from government that all EU-funded projects with agreements signed before the Autumn Statement will be safe (and during the course of the day, Government confirmed that this commitment was extended to include all EU-funded projects signed prior to the UK leaving the European Union)
  • A Local Authority led Devolution Prospectus has been submitted to secure more powers and funding for the area.
  • A Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Group has been set up by all the partners to look at the opportunities and what can be done to adapt to changes resulting from leaving the EU
  • The third bid for £109 million of Growth Deal funding has been sent to government.
The Annual Report and presentations from the conference are published here

Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am very pleased to see such interest in our Annual Conference from such a broad range of partners.

“The Heart of the South West is on the verge of transformational change, and we’ve made some good progress with investors and government this year to realise that change and fulfil our ambitions. It’s good to share this success with the stakeholders in our area, many of whom have been instrumental in our progress.

“The Heart of the South West is an excellent place to do business and it’s important that we all share that message, both locally and further afield; and instill a sense of pride, confidence and ambition in our business communities from the very small micro-business to the big international players. I’m very pleased to see the business community and other partners joining us in our journey by taking an active part in the conference.”



The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the Government will guarantee funding for European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) projects contracted after the Autumn Statement whilst the UK remains a member of the EU, subject to two conditions:
  • The project provides good value for money; and
  • The project is in line with national strategic priorities.
The European Structural and Investment Funds subject to these Government assurances are:
  • The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development;
  • The European Social Fund;
  • The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; and
  • The European Regional Development Fund, including European Territorial Cooperation.
Each Government department will have responsibility for the allocation of money to projects in line with these conditions and the wider rules on public spending. and the LEP remains one of the key local partners who work with Government to ensure that the funding is directed at local priorities.

The full Government announcement can be found here.

This Government announcement builds on the assurances given by the Chancellor in August which also included:
  • all European Structural and Investment Funds projects contracted before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even if these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU;
  • Government will underwrite the payment of grant awards through funding schemes administered directly by the European Commission (such as Horizon 2020), even if projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU; and
  • the current level of agricultural funding under Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) pillar 1 will be upheld until 2020 as part of the transition to new domestic arrangements.
We will provide further information on forward ESIF implementation arrangements in this newsletter and on our website as details become available.

Growth Deal 3 Prioritisation

The three Leadership Groups, People, Place and Business, and the Local Transport Board, have been leading on the prioritisation work for Growth Deal 3.  They have recently been asked “if the exercise was to be repeated again now, would anything change in your ranking?” and this is still based on the original assessment criteria.  

The factor most likely to have changed in the last few months that would affect this exercise is the criterion “Ability to deliver projects in the 2017-2021 timeframe” and this is being carefully considered in this final refresh.  

The results will go to the November LEP Board for final sign off, with the usual caveat that whilst we will have a local prioritised list there is still the possibility that Government may want to “cherry-pick” certain projects.

As timescales are so much shorter than expected for Growth Deal 3 with an announcement of a list of projects expected in the Autumn Statement, it does unfortunately mean that the LEP is not be able to consider new projects this time round.  

However, ideas for prospective projects can still be submitted to the LEP’s project bank for consideration under future awards for funding.

Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Group

The BROG is a newly formed group comprised of the LEP and local authority chief executives (or a nominated deputy) to identify and consider the opportunities and risks of Brexit in an evidence-based way.

The BROG is capturing intelligence at a strategic level and, working with partners, will develop a solid evidence base; which may include commissioning additional research and analysis of relevant information.

This will be shared and used to influence government and other decision-makers to ensure our businesses are heard. A work programme has been drawn together, and as Brexit negotiations move ahead and implications are further understood, the scope for the group will adapt as necessary. The group is chaired by Phil Norrey, chief executive of Devon County Council, and the next meeting is on 22 November.

Growth Hub Update

Success Story – Sweet Cumin -  Bini Ludlow runs Sweet Cumin, a cookery school that teaches Indian and traditional Gujarati cooking.
Bini initially worked with Heart of the South West Growth Hub adviser Laura Daniels, who referred her for a one-to-one session with Growth Support Service adviser Elliot Forte. She said: “Elliot was incredibly helpful. I had produced a business plan, and he has helped me to focus on key targets and break it down into manageable tasks. Read More
Partnership Networking event – The next event is taking place on the 18th November at The Old Duchy Hotel / High Moorland Centre, Princetown, Dartmoor. Join us to hear updates from the Growth Hub, catch up with colleagues on current business support activities and services and talk to the Growth Hub about working with us. Book Now
Reminder - 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. The directory is aimed at private sector business support providers. Complete the registration form today:
Stay up to date – Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with us on social media for updates on business support services, events and funding.
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Follow us on Twitter @GrowthHubHOTSW

New Contract for SME Business Support, Hinkley Point C Supply Chain and Nuclear South West Inward Investment Expertise

There are £50 billion worth of business opportunities stemming from the construction by EDF Energy of two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. The Heart of the South West and West of England LEPs have been working closely to develop a programme to help businesses and particularly SMEs exploit this significant opportunity.

As part of this the two LEPs have combined resources to fund a 3 year programme of support which is being offered via two distinct but related contracts. The deadline for final submissions is 12 noon on 28 November and full details are available here.

New Manufacturing Support Service 

The LEP and the Heart of the South West Growth Hub are delighted to announce the launch of the Local Manufacturing Advisory Programme (LMAP) in the Heart of the South West LEP area.

The service is designed to support 124 SME manufacturers to grow and create jobs within our area. It offers advice and grants to help firms improve their business strategy, become more efficient, develop new products, access new markets and develop their supply chains.

The service is delivered by South West based consultancy and business support firm SWMAS, which has been supporting local manufacturers since 2002.

A key element of the new service is a nominated business improvement specialist – Phil Halse - focussed on supporting manufacturers in this area.

Manufacturing firms that are keen to engage with the new programme to explore the possibilities for growing their business should contact the Growth Hub and ask to be connected with SWMAS.

First Venturefest South West Exceeds Expectations

Venturefest South West, a flagship event championing the most cutting edge innovation, technology and entrepreneurship coming out of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in 2016, saw around 600 entrepreneurs, investors and innovators flock to Sandy Park, Exeter on 18 October.
Venturefest South West brought together delegates for a day of collaboration between innovative businesses and potential investors. As well as exchanging ideas and industry insights to drive growth in the region, the event featured talks from world-class speakers and regional technology companies sharing their experience.
Accessing funding was a key focus area for the day with an expert panel exploring crowdfunding, grants, lending, business angels and venture capital.
Alongside sessions on collaboration, partnerships and exporting, the day’s sessions focused on key sectors for the region including Agri Tech, Marine Tech, Digital Health, Photonics, Satellite Applications and Big Data. 
Martin Brown, Chair of Venturefest South West and HotSW LEP Board Member said: “The event really exceeded all of our expectations. It was a powerful exchange of ideas with a real energy and focus for supporting tech businesses in the South West. We have seen exceptional innovations from across the region attracting the attention of investors and many valuable connections made. The success of this year’s event is proof that technology innovation is thriving in the South West.”
Delegates also had access to previews of new products, services and technology on display at the Innovation Showcase. The Heart of the South West Growth Hub was on hand to promote its business support services available to all businesses in the area.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling Visits Tithebarn Link


Transport Secretary Chris Grayling made his first visit to the South West as Secretary of State for Transport to announce new Highways England funding for four multi-million pound road improvement schemes. The visit took place near Exeter Science Park where one of the schemes, the Tithebarn Link, is located and the LEP worked  in partnership with the Local Transport Board and Highways England on the successful bid.
As well as relieving pressure on Junction 29 of the M5, which is a key route where the M5 meets the A30, the new link will enable continuing growth of housing and employment east of Exeter, including Exeter Science Park and the new community of Cranbrook, which is a key part of the Local Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan.

The Secretary of State then travelled to Dawlish to see how Network Rail have spent £35 million repairing the line following the storm damage in 2014.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Visits Oceansgate

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, was in Plymouth this month to investigate the bid for redevelopment of the city’s rail terminus and to visit Oceansgate, funded by the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal – which the LEP is a partner in.

Oceansgate is the first exclusively marine Enterprise Zone in the country, and part of the Heart of the South West’s portfolio of nationally designated enterprise zones, which also include Huntspill and Exeter along with a food Zone at the Royal Bath and West Showground. All parties agreed a Memorandum of Understanding last month, which is the latest step forward to these sites becoming fully operational.

The Enterprise Zone status provides tax breaks including business rates discounts and more generous capital allowances as well as super-fast broadband. Income from business rates can be re-invested in the Enterprise Zones for the next 25 years under this designation

Enterprise Advisors Start Work in Schools

30 business mentors have started working in schools throughout Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay as part of our Enterprise Adviser Service aiming to improve careers provision for young people.

Known as Enterprise Advisers, each mentor started work with their allocated school last month, helping to identify new ideas and create a bespoke action plan. Over the next year, each Enterprise Adviser will work with the school to support the development of career advice and guidance available to young people.

Employers are still being encouraged to apply, as the aim is to roll out the project to all schools as additional funding becomes available. A total of 36 schools throughout the Heart of the South West area are taking part in the project initially.

Read the full story here and to find out more visit and watch our video.

Growth Deal News

Progress is being made on a number of projects part funded by the first round of the Growth Deal, signed in 2014, which secured £130.3m from government. With additional investment of £140m from local partners and the private sector, it will generate £270.3 million to be invested in infrastructure projects.

Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal - 2015-2021 - HotSW LEP estimates the investment will create up to 22,000 new jobs and 11,000 new homes. More information on these and other LEP projects is available here.

Foundation Stone laid at Plymouth’s Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM

A significant milestone has been reached in the building of Plymouth’s new Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) with the laying of the foundation stone.

The £13million state-of-the-art facility, funded by Plymouth Council and £5.43m from Growth Deal 1, has seen more than 50 employers involved in shaping its development.

The Centre will provide a flexible learning environment that simulates ‘real work’ scenarios with industry-standard workshops, laboratories and studios. It will be equipped with high-tech resources to support a broader and more relevant STEM curriculum.

“The laying of the foundation stone takes the construction of the Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM a step closer to completion,” said Phil Davies, City College Principal and Chief Executive.

“STEM is a local and national priority for addressing a predicted future skills shortage in related industries; building the Centre is a direct response to that. Our commitment is to train and develop young people and adults that employers and the economy needs.

“We want to stimulate interest and support for higher-paid STEM jobs, while at the same time encourage students to remain and develop their careers in the local workforce. Our vision for the Centre is to enable more cross-curriculum learning that embeds enterprise, employability and STEM into everything we do.”

Plymouth City Council Leader Councillor Bowyer said: “The Regional Centre of Excellence for STEM is integral to Plymouth’s Local Economic Strategy and its Plan for Employment and Skills. Both highlight the need to develop the STEM-related skills to support job creation in high growth sectors and drive the City’s productivity.”

Work on the centre started in February this year and is due to be completed in autumn 2017. The five-story building is starting to rise upwards with formwork and reinforcement for the third floor in place.

A379 Improvements at Sandy Park Junction

A turf cutting ceremony has been held to mark the recent start of improvements to the A379 Sandy Park Junction in Exeter

Earthworks are underway on the £2.5 million upgrade to create a signalised junction which will allow all traffic movements, and improve access to planned employment and housing development in the Newcourt area of the city.

The scheme is being funded by Growth Deal 1, Exeter City Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy, and Devon County Council. Access to facilities at Sandy Park is being maintained.

Torquay Gateway Scheme Further Progress: Scott’s Bridge Roadworks Starts on Site

Work has started to widen the Newton Abbot bound side of Riviera Way at the junction of Riviera Way and Newton Road, known locally as Scott’s Bridge.

The works are part of the part Growth Deal 1 funded Torquay Gateway scheme, which include a range of improvements to the transport links close to the South Devon Highway, Edginswell Business Park and the Torquay Gateway Growth Area. 
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