Enterprise M3’s chief executive turned the spotlight on the LEP’s wide and varied successes, at the AGM.
Kathy Slack’s highlights of the last year ranged from clean growth to enterprise zones, from exporting to supporting thriving towns. There was plenty to celebrate.
She said: “This is a strong economy and we need to keep it that way. We contribute £55bn GVA to the national economy (3% of the UK). We have a high employment rate.
“However, when you’re measuring the success of a LEP, you’re not just talking about housing and jobs, it’s about the impact on the environment, impact on people, it’s about health and well-being.”
The LEP’s achievements included:
• Smart funding, which included £36.9m to deliver 37 high impact projects. A total of 925 new homes and 1,603 jobs were also delivered, exceeding their respective targets by 70% and 130%.
• Focus on high growth, high potential innovators which supported 1,200 scale ups and the launch of the £10m Funding Escalator to support high growth SMEs.
• The Growth Hub, aimed at businesses looking to succeed in the Enterprise M3 area, has had an “absolutely stupendous year” with 10,300 businesses accessing expert information, 220 growing, high-potential enterprises supported and groups such as the Silicon Drinkabout attracting 400 members.
• Business support preparing for Brexit. Kathy highlighted how the Brexit online toolkit portal was available for advice, and 14 highly-successful, business clinics had been planned across the area.
• Enterprise Zones - £8m was invested in Basing View. Kathy said “The place is buzzing, it is turning a huge corner. Investment has been made in office space and the Village Hotel will open by next February.”