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July  2015



July 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.

www.heartofswlep.co.uk
 

Introduction - Chris Garcia

 

Welcome to the July newsletter, where we have updates on our activity and the latest on the state of play of the European Structural Investment Fund which is worth around £117m to our area over the next five years.

We continue to increase our profile and reputation on local, regional and national level to help attract investment for our partners in the public and private sector. As well as the forthcoming European funding, we are building our business case for any future funding opportunities that will be announced post the ‘Comprehensive Spending Review’. We are confident that we have a strong business case for investment.

We are closely monitoring government requirements which may emerge for future funding; post-election there still appears to be a focus on the south west as the government recognises the unprecedented potential in this area given new opportunities presented by increased connectivity and specialist sector growth.

Much of our Strategic Economic Plan is aligned with the current policy focus; namely productivity, enterprise zones and greater freedoms to progress local decisions. We are working with our partners in the local authorities to support them with their emerging plans, and as a LEP we are on hand to add value and strength to the local leaders’ case to government when it comes to increasing our opportunities to attract investment.

We’re encouraged by the recently confirmed investment in tourism to attract overseas visitors to the south west and disperse numbers to the regions from London, and the next round of the Coastal Communities Fund, in which teams within the HotSW are to receive a large allocation of funding. I was also pleased to represent the south west LEPs at the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall this month when he announced this tourism investment.

This followed several meetings with new and existing MPs that I’ve had this month to make our case for investment. Also, with our Chair, Steve Hindley, I took part in the Peninsula Rail Task Force (PRTF) reception in Westminster earlier this month. We are an active and enthusiastic partner in the PTRF; a partnership campaigning on behalf of the South West to secure investment into the rail network, to create resilience, faster journey times and capacity. The House of Commons reception launched the PTRF 20 year vision.

Finally, we were very pleased with the calibre of responses to our advertisement for two non-executive director which we interviewed for earlier this month. We’ll be making a press announcement in September and the two new members, who will bring diverse and valuable experience to our partnership, will be welcomed at the September Board meeting.

European Structural and Investment (ESI) funds


A new round of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds calls for proposals has been launched.

These new ESI funding opportunities include four specific European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) calls for the Heart of the South West (HotSW) relating to: supporting SMEs to develop ideas and products; the HotSW Growth Hub; small business support; and the Hinkley Supply Chain.

Details of all open ESI Funds calls can be found at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds , with specifications setting out the scope of the call (including the level of funding available and match-funding requirements) and how to apply.

Further ESI funding opportunities are expected to be launched in the coming months, including European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) calls and European Social Fund opt-in procurements for the Heart of the South West area.

Following further eligibility guidance from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), there have been some adjustments to planned European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) activity in the Heart of the South West. The updated position is available on the HotSW LEP website here
.

July board update

 

The July Board discussed the government’s plans for devolution and agreed that the LEP would support the local authorities in such capacity that they decide upon to progress this agenda and maximise any increased opportunities for funding that may be presented. Particular emphasis came from the private sector to continue to support the area to attract investment, and the business board members were all keen to continue helping local authorities.

A range of future funding opportunities were discussed and the board members reviewed a number of our strategic priorities. The board also discussed enhancing Productivity and access to finance to unlock barriers; Local Innovation Audits and a possible approach to address a projected labour shortage by helping people get off health related benefits.

HotSW Inward Investment manager Julia Stuckey presented the results of the City Deal funded Investor Growth and Soft Landings packages which, respectively, secured 85 high value jobs and £3m investment; and 13 foreign direct investments creating 340 new jobs and safeguarding 338. The Board supported the proposal to seek extra resources now that City Deal funding has ended, to continue similar projects to attract inward and local investment into the area.. The board offered to enhance their role as ambassadors for the area and asked for increased levels of information and support in doing so.

The Enterprise Zone presentation from the Business and Place Leadership Groups was well received and the board will consider the benefits of potential zones and following advice from BIS will put forward a proposal in addition to our existing zone in Plymouth South Yard.
A letter of support for the extension of Heathrow Airport is to be sent from the Board, with additional asks for related connectivity to the south west.

Business and Place Group update

 

This month the Business and Place Leadership Groups held a joint meeting to share mutual agendas.
 
Jodie Davis from Climate South West (CSW) gave a presentation on resilience and climate change with a view to the Place and Businesses groups considering what the HotSW LEP can do to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and identify risk. Suggestions included capacity building around the social sector, innovation, business skills and green infrastructure. Funding for transport resilience and preserving and enhancing natural capital are shared goals for the LEP and CSW.
 
The Growth Hub business support signposting service is in a transition phase between the City Deal model and the model funded through the Growth Deal.
 
Plans for the Business Conference and AGM were discussed, with ideas around mapping supply chains, having innovation & growth as a focus, ensuring the LEP is on track with the government’s agenda; particularly around productivity, and is open to cross-LEP working. Over the summer the LEP will be undertaking a series of workshops and other engagements called “LEP Conversations”, this will be piloted over the summer with some of the main business groups and rolled out after the conference.  This will be a chance for partners to share their strategic ideas for potential projects with the LEP and in anticipation of any future funding or policy asks. The briefing note for Growth Deal “3” was circulated, which is summarised in the article below.

There was a presentation on Enterprise Zones; followed by discussions on the merits of EZ status needing to be carefully weighed up against the effects on immediately surrounding businesses areas and the other risks in this sort of programme.
 
Inward Investment projects that were previously funded by the City Deal are progressing, notable progress includes creating a cross SW Marine proposal. 
 
A project plan for the Unlocking Growth Fund will be presented to the Strategic Investment Panel in August. 16 Expressions of Interest have been received for the UGF and these will shortly be reviewed by the UGF sub-group.

Growth Deal 3

 

HotSW LEP’s approach to responding to a possible third round of Growth Deal funding – expected later this year – is to start early, be transparent and engage partners through the Leadership Groups of Business, People, Place (which have all been sent a thorough briefing notes and are engaging with their partners.)
 
Since the government established the “Growth Deal” process of capital funding through LEPs, HotSW has achieved notable success - a total of £195.5 million – and in the last round we secured the highest allocation in the country. By ensuring a longer lead-in time to enable wide consultation, we aim to build a robust bank of projects that should be at the ready for responding to specific calls and criteria that the government announce.
 
The LEP Board will review progress in September. It is hoped that, subject to the Government’s Spending Review, a Growth Deal “3” award may be made to LEPs in early 2016.
 
For queries about projects or help knowing where to direct enquiries email projects@heartofswlep.co.uk.

Growth Hub Update


It is HotSW LEP’s intention to commission a Growth Hub business support advice service to help businesses grow. Following funding for this service through the City Deal coming to an end, HotSW LEP advertised a Growth Hub Interim service contract however there were no successful applicants.

Therefore HotSW LEP is progressing towards the full service which will be in place in 2016 (the timescale is due to unavoidable funding lead-in times designated by Europe - the call is now open - see details in the ESI update above) and in the meantime businesses are being signposted to use the national helpline for business support and advice: 0300 456 3565 Textphone: 0208 742 8620 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Regularly updated information about the Growth Hub is available at http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/news/heart-south-west-hotsw-growth-hub.

New delivery partner for superfast broadband in Dartmoor and Exmoor

 

Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) has announced that Airband will be the delivery partner for the next phase of the superfast broadband programme across Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, delivering improved broadband speeds to some 5,800 homes and businesses through a fixed wireless access network which is designed to overcome physical conditions such as trees, hills or structures.
(This is in addition to the existing phase 1 rollout which is on track to deliver superfast broadband to around 90% of homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset by the end of 2016.)

CDS is one of the main connectivity projects supported by HotSW LEP through the Growth Deal and Growing Places Fund - connectivity being a central aim of the Strategic Economic Plan – it’s also the largest superfast broadband project in England which helps towards another HotSW LEP central aim: to increase the area’s contribution to UK plc.

Residents and businesses can keep up to date with the latest cabinets going live via Twitter @DCCSCCBroadband or via www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk.

New grants awarded to expanding businesses across the Heart of the South West

 

North Devon+ announced a further six businesses to receive awards totalling almost £533,000 through its Unlocking Business Investment programme, supported by the Heart of the West Local Enterprise Partnership and funded through the  Regional Growth Fund to stimulate private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable jobs.  To date a total of nearly one million pounds has been awarded with 118 jobs to be created before March 2019.

The successful companies coming from across the Heart of the South West area include Hydraulic Projects Ltd (Dawlish), Forever England (Somerset), The Bay Tree Food Company Ltd (Ivybridge), Fraser Anti-Static Techniques Ltd (Bampton), EFFECT Photonics (Brixham) and Management Systems Modelling Ltd (Exeter). In this round of successful businesses, funding will be used to invest in machinery for new product development, relocating and bringing back manufacturing to the local area, improving and upgrading production lines and building an extension to improve production efficiency.

The £5million scheme is open to businesses across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay provides grants of between £25,000 and £499,000 to businesses with firm plans for expansion, which just need to unlock the finance to make it happen.

The Unlocking Business Investment programme is open to businesses now. Please contact ubi@northdevonplus.co.uk for more information.

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