Local business organisation celebrates successful 12 months


The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has been celebrating a successful 12 months.

The LEP says it has created over 7,800 new jobs and helped over 18,000 businesses.

Since January it has worked with stakeholders to provide funding and support for local businesses, skills, and job creation.

The organisation has also helped to connect over 9,500 homes and businesses to superfast broadband.

Major business support projects this year included the launch of the British Business Bank’s £200 million South West Investment Fund and the new Angel Investor Programme, set to drive economic growth by identifying, educating, and supporting new investors.

Paul Coles, chief executive of South West Business Council and Board member of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The Heart of the South West LEP has been instrumental in supporting local businesses over the past year. Access to finance and free support is particularly important for our SMEs, who continue to face economic uncertainty and challenges around supply chains, talent, net zero and digitalisation.”

The LEP also announced that it would be committing a further £1.3m into developing the digital economy, working closely with Connecting Devon & Somerset to support the rollout of superfast broadband to hard-to-reach communities.

Significant science and innovation projects were secured this year. The University of Plymouth Cyber Resilience of Offshore Wind Networks (CROWN) project, supported by a £650,000 grant from the LEP, which will incorporate a purpose-built lab space to identify potential vulnerabilities in wind turbines.

Professor Judith Petts, vice-chancellor of the University of Plymouth and board member of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The LEP’s support has been crucial in advancing innovation in the region where national leading facilities exist.

“Projects like CROWN showcase the LEP’s commitment to innovation, which aligns with our vision to address real- world challenges through cutting-edge solutions.”