Delegates gave a vote of confidence in Enterprise M3’s economic recovery at Resilience, Recovery and Renewal – EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership’s Annual General Meeting.
Representatives from more than 200 businesses, universities, colleges, local authorities and government departments attended the AGM – the first to be held online in the LEP’s history.
They heard about future investments, including EM3’s Supporting Town Centres Fund, as well as learnt about past projects which were already paying dividends, such as a £1.75m investment in a ‘virtual campus’ which had enabled the majority of the region’s universities and Further Education Colleges switch seamlessly to digital learning during lockdown.
Delegates also heard about the power of Enterprise M3’s digital, knowledge-based economy, which contains around 10% of UK businesses in both the low carbon and gaming and immersive tech sectors, and learned about the work the LEP is already undertaking for its Economic Recovery and Renewal Action Plan.
Polling showed a 13%* increase in confidence between the start and end of the meeting, rising from 42% of delegates saying they were confident or very confident at the start to 55% at the end.
Chair Dave Axam told delegates that as the COVID-19 virus re-sets the economy, EM3 was re-setting its priorities, putting even greater emphasis on initiatives which support the move to carbon net zero, the impact of artificial intelligence and technology and the need to equip people with the skills and re-skilling required to deliver inclusive growth.
The Enterprise M3 area, its businesses and its people are at the forefront of the UK’s economic strength,” he said. “We have strong foundations but we all know that COVID-19 has shaken not just our foundations but the very foundations of the international economy.
Ensuring we continue to play our role on the global stage as it seeks to recover and renew is vital work.
Dave told delegates that the LEP had already submitted bids for capital funding for a host of projects in the region which would stimulate growth, and said that the LEP was already reframing its Local Industrial Strategy into an intelligence-led Economic Recovery and Renewal Action Plan.
“The government has shown confidence in LEPs as the engines of economic recovery by asking us to submit transformative projects for funding for 2021. We have submitted a strong, robust, evidence based submission very much working with our partner organisations.”
He concluded by talking about the work the EM3 was carrying out with its fellow LEPs across the South of England.
However strong we are, one LEP cannot do this alone. So we have partnered with our fellow LEPs in a joint call on the government to support our growth economies as part of the UK’s drive to recover from COVID-19.
Our message to government for the South is clear: Investment for growth in the south is investment for growth for the UK.
The online webinar also launched the LEP’s Annual Report, which went fully digital for 2019-20 and which can be found here.
Belvedere House, Basing View,
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