Enterprise M3 LEP distributed all of its £36.9m funding to innovative projects across Hampshire and Surrey last year – and 28 new contracts were signed in the same period.
To invest all of its Government funding, and in so many new business ideas, is a tremendous achievement for any LEP – and with it comes local growth in homes, jobs, commercial space, learning space and apprenticeships.
For example, 1,603 jobs were created/safeguarded in 2018/19, well above the forecast of 694. The region benefited from 925 new homes and 4,252 sqm of commercial floorspace, above respective forecasts of 549 and 3,630.
The growth in the LEP region demonstrates the strength of the Enterprise M3 team and board members, buoyed by their range of experience and skills from across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
The LEP’s capacity to manage the projects it funds is also a prime reason for success. For example, it has a pipeline of projects to help deal with delays, so if one project falls behind, another can step up and take its place.
It also has great capacity to review and adapt its own operations, so for example, the LEP may now give loans rather than grants, so there can be re-investment in other projects at a later date. Of the £36.9m of Local Growth Fund money distributed last year, £10m was in loans.
Enterprise M3 Assistant Director – Operations, Rachel Barker, said: “Investing every penny of our Government allocated finances in local projects means we have maximised the LEP’s role in fostering the conditions required for a thriving local economy, be it growth in high-value sectors, housing, jobs or infrastructure. This is a great result for our LEP team and partners, who are very aware of how quality investment can make a great difference to the lives of people living in our region.”
In 2019/20, the LEP has £45m of expenditure to distribute and it is aiming to deliver 1,000 new homes, 9,000sqm of new employment floorspace as well as creating/safeguarding 2,500 jobs, supporting 300 apprenticeships and creating/refurbishing 5,000sqm of learning floorspace.