Theresa May met LEP chair Dave Axam and business leaders nationwide from England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) at Number 10 to update the Prime Minister on their work to boost economic growth for their communities.
Mrs May said: “Local Enterprise Partnerships have a vital role to play in delivering our modern Industrial Strategy.
“Working closely with government, their leadership is helping make sure businesses thrive as we prepare to leave the European Union.
“I was pleased to hear directly from LEP representatives how they are bringing together the local business community, universities and other partners to design long-term, ambitious plans tailored to the strengths and needs of their areas.
“Using their unique insight and expertise to co-develop Local Industrial Strategies, LEPs are boosting economic growth, securing jobs and delivering prosperity – making sure that no community is left behind.”
Enterprise M3 recently launched a Brexit toolkit to help businesses in the region plan for the impact of the UK leaving the EU. Developed in partnership with the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub and other business support organisations, including Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, County Councils in Surrey and Hampshire, and Business South, it offers easy access to a range of authoritative sources of impartial advice and guidance.
The LEP is proactively engaging with businesses by running 14 Brexit Advice Clinics in its districts and boroughs, offering free expert advice to help them with EU Exit scenario planning and assess business affect.
Dave said: “Theresa May appreciated the work being carried out by Enterprise M3 LEP and other LEP’s across the country to support businesses preparing for Brexit. She could see we were providing a single, consolidated, authoritative, credible source of accurate information and advice, easy-to-access. Our Brexit toolkit is a top result on Google for businesses searching for help in the enterprise M3 area. Businessmen and women are busy running their businesses, and don’t always have time to research the right advice among all the info out there.
“Our message to the Prime Minister was that, as a LEP, we remain focused. We continue to make investment decisions to support our local economies and improve productivity. We support business: we act to consolidate and disseminate critical Brexit information – to provide a single easy information source for business. We proactively engage with business: we leverage our growth hubs and business organisations to engage with business and provide guidance.”
The Prime Minister heard from business leaders representing each of the LEPs across England including those in the Northern Powerhouse (NP11), the Midlands Engine, and the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc. The LEP chairs briefed the Prime Minister on the development of their Local Industrial Strategies – blueprints for driving long-term productivity and prosperity – which will see LEPs work closely with government to unlock local growth.
The Council of LEP Chairs also covered updates on the timelines for delivering the Local Industrial Strategies, engagement with SMEs and rural communities, progress against the Grand Challenges identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy which aim to keep the UK at the forefront of key global trends, and discussion around the latest business intelligence from across the country ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.
Dave said: “LEPs know our areas best and are proactive and ready to support business. We are a bridge between the private sector and local and national government, and as an on the ground organisation we are taking action in partnership with businesses, local and national government and local and national organisations. We stand ready to do more if the government needs us to. All we ask is that the Government continues to work with and through LEPs, to provide business the support they need now and post 29 March.”
LEPs share their information via their Growth Hubs – there are 38 in total, one in every LEP across England. LEPs have self-reported that in over the last 12 months Growth Hubs have:
· supported over 130,000 businesses, of which over 13,000 received high intensity support of 12 hours or more;
· helped over 8,000 individuals start a business and
· achieved an average customer satisfaction rate of 89.5%.
Dave said: “We are focused on our mission and activity around the national Industrial Strategy and our own Local Industrial Strategy to drive productivity and growth. We are continuing to invest and this gives business confidence.”