Within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, we have already created partnerships and delivery mechanisms that can easily be adapted to fulfil the role required for our LEP.
The heart of business support - the simple way to navigate support services
A suite of funds and investments to enhance business growth.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was launched in May 2011. Private sector-led, it is a partnership between the private and public sectors and is driving the economic strategy for the area, determining local priorities and undertaking activities to drive growth and the creation of local jobs.
The LEP is business-driven and our board includes nine representatives of the private sector in Cornwall, three Cornwall Council representatives, one representative from the Isles of Scilly Council and one representative from the Combined Universities for Cornwall. Click for more info.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is one of 39 LEPs across England set up following the Coalition Government's new approach to economic development. This new approach puts businesses in the driving seat and empowers the private sector to determine their own priorities.
Welcome to our regular blog, and also the launch of our new e-newsletter.
As one of 39 LEPs set up by Government to drive economic growth and create jobs, the past few months have been very busy as we prepare for the next round of European funding.
The LEP was tasked in April with drawing up and submitting our EU Structural and Investment Fund Strategy in October and we worked and consulted with hundreds of people, businesses and organisations across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly over many months to ensure that our plans for spending 592.9 million euros from 2014 to 2020 make the maximum impact on our economy.
Those plans, which will be subject to negotiation with Government between now and early in the New Year, highlight 12 different areas for potential investment, grouped under the broad themes of Future Economy, Growth for Business and Conditions for Growth.
As a business-led strategy, it puts our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) centre stage because they are the bedrock of our economy. It includes investments that will accelerate increases in productivity and competitiveness in local businesses, including micro-businesses employing less than 10 people.
It proposes measures to remove barriers to business growth, whether that is access to finance (by providing loans instead of grants, so that the money can be recycled in the local economy), lack of skills or weaknesses in transport infrastructure.
And it focuses on investment in research and innovation, building on our strengths and unique characteristics to develop emerging sectors like marine renewable energy, e-health and agri-technologies, while making sure that there is also funding available for grassroots, community-led growth and job creation.
To complement those EU funds, the LEP has also been tasked with drawing up a broader growth strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, or what the Government calls a Growth Deal.
Through Growth Deals, we can seek freedoms, flexibilities and influence over resources from Government, and a share of the new Local Growth Fund to deliver our priorities, worth around £2 billion nationally a year from 2015.
We will have to compete with all the other LEPs for that funding, and our role is to ensure that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly puts forward a robust case for investment so we are not overlooked just because we already benefit from EU funds. That Growth Deal will be finalised early next year.
The LEP also continues to play a key role in supporting transport initiatives such as the dualling of the A30, backing calls for a Public Service Obligation from Newquay Cornwall Airport to a London hub airport, and working with our neighbours to lobby for robust rail infrastructure and services in and out of our region, including reduced flood risk further up the line.
We have been pleased with progress of the Aerohub @ Newquay since its launch in April last where there have been 135 jobs created and safeguarded, with five new occupiers attracted to the site. The Aerohub is probably the largest planning-free development site in England, covering over 650 acres, and is being marketed internationally, most recently at the Dubai Air Show.
Many local businesses continue to see significant investment through our suite of investment funds, including through the Regional Growth Funding that we secured last year.
As we look ahead over the coming months there is a great deal to do. We will be negotiating our EU and Growth Deal investment proposals and once agreed, the task will be to focus on the individual investment detail of those strategies to ensure that our spending plans deliver maximum benefit in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The business community, and our partners in education, local government and a range of other groups and organisations, will continue to play a critical role in helping us shape those plans and I would like to take this opportunity to thank personally all those from throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the help and advice they have given us so far.
In particular, we want to reach out to those businesses with real growth potential so that we can fashion packages of support that help them realise that potential, growing and creating jobs
On behalf of the LEP I would also like to extend a warm welcome to Andrew Kerr, the new chief executive of Cornwall Council, who takes up his post in January. He will be coming to Cornwall at a very exciting time, with Government looking to empower the regions to determine their own destiny and make spending decisions locally.
Our challenge, as Lord Heseltine said during his recent visit to Cornwall, is to come up with robust, evidence-based spending proposals and priorities that demonstrate we are up to the job. And based upon the strong partnerships that have been forged in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly over many years, and the huge amount of input we have had into our spending plans to date, I sincerely believe we are.