July 2012

Growing Places Fund - the first stage of the shortlisting process for the Growing Places Fund applications is complete and 13 applications will proceed to the next round find out more...

LEP Network News - the LEP network is the hub for LEPs throughout the country - to find out more visit www.lepnetwork.org.uk

A30/A303/A358 Survey - Somerset County Council is undertaking an options study for the A30/A303/A358, designed to gather information and views from local companies in the region. The survey takes around ten minutes to complete and will be open until Friday 20th July complete the survey.

The Heart of the South West LEP has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to create a powerful economic alliance.

Produced monthly, this newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.


Update on the Rural Growth Network

Unfortunately a number of newspapers mistakenly reported that the Rural Growth Network fund is open for bids. In fact it is still being finalised, but we will make a formal announcement when we're ready to go! We hope this will be in the early autumn.

Earlier this year it was announced that HotSW had been granted around £2.9m of funding from DEFRA to form a RGN as one of five pilot areas across England.

The funding is intended to remove barriers to growth in rural areas and will enable businesses of different sizes in these areas to grow. There will also be a specific focus on encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship amongst women.

Since the announcement was made, representatives of the LEP and Devon and Somerset County Councils have been working closely with Defra to move the programme forward to a stage where contracts can be exchanged.
The details for the RGN contract are now being finalised and is is likely to be in the early autumn, with projects being delivered until March 2015 and in some cases, possibly beyond.

Further updates will be provided through this newsletter and on the website www.heartofswlep.co.uk

One year on...

HotSW is celebrating its first birthday this month and reflecting on a year of progress.

The Partnership has three key areas of focus - job creation, productivity, increasing earnings – and since its inception the LEP has made good progress against these areas

In June last year, the LEP appointed a board, a chief executive and a chair. It also set up a partner business forum open to all businesses and business organisations across Devon and Somerset, set up to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the LEP.

A £21.5m Growing Places Fund was awarded to the partnership, a funding initiative available to unlock stalled projects throughout the area.

In March, HotSW was announced as one of five national pilots for the Rural Growth Network initiative.

The Partnership also signed the trade agreement with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), making it the official government body responsible for coordinating foreign direct investment across the area. HotSW works closely with UKTI to promote the area to potential overseas investors.

Regional Growth Fund

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.4 billion fund operating across England between 2011-2015. The third round closed in June this year and HotSW submitted a bid entitled Sites and Premises.

HotSW's bid for a £15m programme would cover the theme of investing in ‘Sites and Premises’ and would offer either a grant or loan to potential projects

The RGF was established to support projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.

It was also set up with the aim of helping areas and communities which are dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

HotSW also endorsed many stand alone bids from organisations within the area.

Successful bids will be announced in autumn 2012.

Read more about the RGN at www.bis.gov.uk/rgf

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