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GFirst LEP’s Annual Review attracts hundreds of business leaders

PUBLISHED: 09:28 21 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:28 21 September 2016

GFirst LEP’s Annual Review

GFirst LEP’s Annual Review

Archant

Building on Success was the theme for GFirst LEP’s Annual Review and the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire has certainly proved worthy recipients of the government awarded funds

Chair, Diane Savory OBE, and Chief Executive, David Owen, kicked off proceedings with a summary of how £77.5 million has started to be spent in the county over the past 12 months, with over 300 business leaders listening.

Reporting on the end of year one delivery of Growth Deal funding, an impressive array of projects were discussed; from a new bus station in Gloucester, to helping retailers engage with digital technologies.

Joining Diane and David on stage were the LEP Board of Directors and a host of guest speakers. In addition, Vision 2050 was unveiled to business leaders - a new campaign to encourage business people to put forward their ideas for the county’s future.

David Owen said: “ This year has seen uncertainty for businesses, with the EU referendum and a government, but the most important thing for Gloucestershire is that we move forward, working hard together to grow our economy and provide opportunity for all. The great strength we have, in unclear times globally, is the great partnerships we have across the county’s business, public and third sectors. We’re proud to be a part of Gloucestershire’s business community.”

Diane Savory said: “Our aspirations for the county keep on growing. Growth Deal 3 funding would take us through to 2020 and our ambitions don’t stop there. We’ll continue to work hard with our business, education, local authority, NHS and Police colleagues to get the best possible devolution deal for Gloucestershire. Now, more than ever in our experience, the county is working as one to develop ambitious plans that are not about the next 3 or 5 years or what the future holds for us in this room. These plans, and the ambition demonstrated across the wider Gloucestershire partnership are about what kind of county we want for our children and our grandchildren.”

What is Vision 2050? Diane Savory explains:

“Vision 2050 is hugely important to Gloucestershire – it will enable us to think about the big picture.

Gloucestershire needs a long term plan. Looking ahead to 2050, we need to start thinking about the projects that will need time to form and develop. We need to consider environmental factors, the advancement of technology, transport assumptions and a host of other factors for us to be able to confidently ensure that our county will continue to grow.

The challenges of the last 12 months have made us realise that we need to be much more ambitious, and visionary, in our future thinking. I’d encourage our business community to email vision2050@gfirstlep.com with your ideas, and help the transformational change of Gloucestershire’s economy.”

GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, brings together businesses to make the county successful and create jobs. It is led by the business community in partnership with the education and public sectors to help Gloucestershire realise its economic potential.

For more information visit www.gfirstlep.com

GFirst LEP Projects:

Growth Hub Network and Expansion - £10 million

GFirst LEP will create a network of Growth Hubs across the county, enabling businesses to access enhanced services from a range of locations. The aim is to expand the approach of a single front door to business support, ensuring businesses can access a consistent Growth Hub service.

The Growth Hub Network will build on the success of the current Hub, based at the Oxstalls Campus of the University of Gloucestershire, which opened its doors in October 2014. In less than two years, The Growth Hub has welcomed over 6,400 unique visitors, with 1,900 of these having received personalised business support. The key aim of the Growth Hub Network is to grow the Gloucestershire economy above the national rate of growth, by providing support for businesses to accelerate business growth, to enable them to reach and exploit their full potential, as well as creating opportunities for businesses to meet, network and promote their services to each other.

Farm491 - £2.92 million

Farm491 is a space for innovators to grow their businesses by applying technology to agriculture.

It’s called Farm491 because, as well as providing high-spec facilities created to foster entrepreneurship, ideas generation, and collaboration - it includes 491 hectares of Cotswold farmland for research and testing. Farm491 is offering start up space both at the RAU’s main campus in Cirencester and at the farm-based Innovation Centre at Harnhill (about 6 miles away) : affordable and flexible co-working environments where budding agri-tech entrepreneurs can run and grow their businesses. This pioneering new initiative will create a vibrant incubation environment with the potential to influence and benefit the wider agricultural and food production industries.

Gloucestershire Airport - £550,000

The funding will provide key infrastructure to enable development by the private sector of aircraft hangars at Gloucestershire Airport. These hangars are identified as being essential to securing step change growth in the business and its impact on the regional economy.

The money has been allocated to construct road access and upgrade infrastructure for development sites earmarked for new aircraft hangars, enabling key new developments to be advanced, bringing skilled jobs to the region. Modern hangars and office accommodation will be available for aircraft operators expanding their businesses here or relocating to the county.

Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear Skills Centre (GREEN) - £5 million

GREEN will create a new campus and Science and Technology business park at Berkeley. The £5 million will fund a first phase which includes the refurbishment of the former engineering hall to provide a skills training centre for the physical trades that will be in demand either directly or indirectly with the planned construction of nuclear power stations. The GREEN Skills Centre will increase the numbers of skilled workers in the region and provides the opportunity to return greater value to the UK supply chain, provide employment, increase GVA, support a low carbon economy and increase social mobility. This project has already triggered additional investment in the Cyber security project and the planned Advanced Renewable Energy Centre.

Gloucester Transport Hub - £6.4 million

Gloucester Central Transport Hub will provide a new state of the art bus station which will integrate various modes of transport including bus, rail, walking and cycling in a city centre location. The aim of the scheme is to increase the attractiveness of using alternatives to car travel whilst achieving wider economic benefits through the regeneration of the Kings Quarter area.

Cyber Security Centre - £3 million

£3 million will be invested in a Cyber Security project to be based at the University of Gloucestershire’s Park Campus in Cheltenham and at the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park at Berkeley Green, in a joint project between the University of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS). The Berkeley site has huge potential to become a centre of excellence as the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, driving growth in key sectors for our economy. The growth deal funding will enable the university to keep investing in new capability, with cutting edge equipment and facilities, expanding the opportunities for training, skills development, enterprise and applied research.

Blackfriars and Quayside - £4.13 million

The £4.13 million investment in the Blackfriars and Quayside regeneration area will be a transformational project for the city of Gloucester. It will bring forward for development a 2.53 Ha site of brownfield land in the centre of Gloucester that has been vacant for many years. A key component of the project will be the adoption of a Local Development Order (LDO) for the site which will provide guidance and outline constraints to developers ahead of formal planning applications. The project ultimately is expected to deliver c£100m in follow on investment, provide around 200 housing units and 250 student accommodation units as well as being a catalyst for the new phase of regeneration in Gloucester. There will be an informal drop-in event at Blackfriars Priory on 20 September from 3.30 - 7.30pm when the consultation material will be on display and members of the project team will be available to assist with any questions about the development proposals and the LDO process.

STEM Centres - £2.1 million

£2.1 million has been invested into multi-site offering to provide state of the art post 16 teaching facilities for engineering, health & animal sciences, and digital and creative technologies. Cirencester College: Refurbishment of existing facilities to install latest state of the art equipment, and integration of maths and environmental science departments. Gloucestershire College: Two specialist STEM centres, which will support STEM delivery to 4,000 16-18 years students. Hartpury College: Funding for the refurbishment and development of Animal Science laboratories with investment in specialist equipment and for the extension and improvement of the Veterinary Nursing Centre.

Great Gloucestershire High Street

GFirst LEP, leading businesses and Government have joined forces to make UK high streets the most digitally engaged in the world, by trialling the Great Gloucestershire High Street pilot with Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud. During 2016, a centralised high street digital hub of industry experts will be providing strategic advice, measurement, digital toolkits and hands-on digital training to Town Centre Managers, Business Improvement District Managers and their thousands of small businesses.

The digital high street programme is led by Argos, with support from other large national businesses, ministerial support, and a number of trade body supporters. Find out more at www.greatgloshs.com.

Careers and Enterprise Company

GFirst LEP and GFutures are encouraging local business people to support local schools by becoming Enterprise Advisers, who will bring schools and employers closer together and cultivate strategies to develop careers provision.

Through Local Enterprise Partnerships across the country, Enterprise Advisors will be part of a national network supporting schools to create powerful and lasting connections with the business community.

Advisers will play a key strategic role in helping schools leaders to develop effective plans that link their education and careers provision to the needs of business and the economy; ensuring we are educating young people fit for the 21st century economy.

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