WHAT WE DO
We focus on the following four activities to support the development and delivery of a Local Industrial Strategy for the Solent:
- Strategy: Developing an evidence-based Local Industrial Strategy that identifies local strengths and challenges, future opportunities and the action needed to boost productivity, earning power and competitiveness across the Solent.
- Allocation of funds: Identifying and developing investment opportunities; prioritising the award of local growth funding; and monitoring and evaluating the impacts of its activities to improve productivity across the Solent economy.
- Co-ordination: Using our convening power, for example to co-ordinate responses to economic shocks; and bringing together partners from the private, public and third sectors.
- Advocacy: Collaborating with a wide-range of local partners to act as an informed and independent voice for the Solent.
In line with this focus, with our partners, we are bringing forward aspirations for growth and environmental innovation across our coastal communities. To achieve growth and prosperity, we are addressing productivity challenges, building new global trading relationships, investing in infrastructure and housing, and equipping school leavers with essential skills and career pathways.
On productivity, we are backing great companies developing leading-edge products and services in the fields of artificial intelligence, autonomy, mobility and clean growth. Through the game-changing Solent Growth Deal, we have so far invested £120m into our economy. This includes more than £10.5m in grant funding to over 270 SMEs, helping to create or safeguard more than 1,500 jobs and securing additional investment of over £37.4m directly into our local businesses.
To maintain and expand this activity, we have launched new funding streams this year, such as the Solent Prosperity Fund and Small Business Expansion Fund directly aimed at entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses. We have also launched dedicated support for rural businesses on the Isle of Wight.
To help establish new trading partners once we leave the EU, we have strengthened our collaboration with Maritime UK, including partnering with them on a trade mission to New York aimed at forging closer ties with the US. This is just one part of a much wider export markets strategy to ensure the Solent stands ever prouder on the world stage.
On infrastructure, work has now started on the M27 ‘smart’ motorway following investment funding we secured. This critical scheme is designed to improve journey times, cut emissions and help to alleviate the overall effects of congestion.
A host of other road improvements have also been completed this year, including at Newgate Lane South which will see travel times quicken between the Gosport peninsula, home to our hugely successful Solent Enterprise Zone, and the M27.
The delivery of new homes features very prominently in our economic strategy. For example, we secured funding to bring forward the next phase of development at Centenary Quay in Southampton. This investment will unlock more than £64m in additional private sector funding and enable the delivery of more than 340 new homes.
Such developments, alongside our multi-year programme of green infrastructure investment, will help us continue to attract and retain talented people able to contribute to our economy and help shape our future.
The Solent is a national leader in the provision of careers advice to young people. Schools in our LEP area have this year achieved the highest average score in England across benchmarks designed to define what good, practical careers guidance should look like. This success reflects the growth of our Enterprise Adviser Network, which matches schools and colleges with volunteer business advisers able to share their knowledge.
One of the great strengths of LEPs is our ability to provide strategic direction and clear priorities to build prosperity. Working closely with businesses, local authorities, academia and other key stakeholders, we are well advanced in plans following the government’s LEP Review. We are also developing the initial stages of our Local Industrial Strategy, in line with the principles and priorities of the national strategy, that will set out an ambitious vision for the Solent economy to 2050.
For further information, visit: https://solentlep.org.uk/what-we-do/