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April 2014


Last chance for businesses to apply for £10m Growth Fund The closing date for applications to the West of England Growth Fund is midnight on April 30th, so businesses only have a few days left to apply. ?The first round of funding saw £15 million allocated to nearly 150 companies in the region. Round 2 has £10 million in the pot and businesses can apply for between £10,000-£80,000 to support new activities that will lead to business growth and job creation. Read more and apply here.

Viper Subsea acquires new offices for continued growth Viper Subsea, a fast-growing subsea engineering business in Portishead, is moving into larger offices for its expanding team, which has grown from three staff in 2007 to 35. ?The company has just been awarded £180,000 from the Growth Fund to assist with the development of products designed to diagnose and locate subsea electrical faults.



Siemens to develop innovative tidal technology in Bristol

Marine Current Turbines (MCT), a Siemens business, is to open a tidal turbine blade manufacturing facility in Bristol and create 49 jobs, following the announcement of a £1 million grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.?MCT chief executive Sven Stoye said: “Tidal technology represents a great opportunity for the UK to lead and has the potential to create new jobs and skills in this innovative renewables technology.” Read the full story here.

SecondSync snapped up by Twitter

Bristol-based 'social tv' business, SecondSync, has announced that it will be joining Twitter. The firm analyses Twitter conversations by viewers of TV programmes, providing more effective audience insight than traditional audience figures.?SecondSync is another SETsquared incubator success story. Bristol SETsquared director, Nick Sturge, said: "SecondSync is not only proof that the most sought-after of technology companies can come from outside of London, it’s proof that Bristol’s creative and technology industries are able to work together to create something of global significance.”

Thatcher’s cider sales outperform the market again

Turnover has risen by a quarter at Thatchers after the family-owned drinks producer reported that cider sales outperformed the market for the fourth year in a row. The company’s latest set of accounts showed an increased turnover of 27% to £51.8m in the year ending 31st August 2013, all of which was generated in the UK. Pre-tax profits climbed by 37% to £5.8m.?Thatchers has announced it is planning to invest £3.5m in new facilities at its Myrtle Farm home in North Somerset. The company also plans to spend £6.5m on a national marketing campaign. Read more here.

Butcombe Brewery takes top prize at national business awards

Butcombe Brewery, based in Wrington, has taken the title of 'Overall Brewery Business of the Year' at national beer event, BeerX.?The West Country's fastest growing brewery has won a number of awards recently, including the 'Food & Drink' category at the Made in South West Awards for its bottled beer. In the last ten years, Butcombe has grown from six to nineteen freehold pubs and Butcombe Bitter is now the most consumed pint in the West Country. Read their case study here.

BBC One’s Poldark is latest production to film at Bottle Yard Studios

Filming has started at Bristol's Bottle Yard Studios on new BBC drama, Poldark. Aidan Turner, pictured, stars as Ross Poldark in the adaptation being made by Mammoth Screen. The team will be filming here and in Cornwall for the next six months and is the latest production to choose the studios. Other productions to shoot here recently include Channel 4's drama 'New Worlds', ITV drama 'The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies', and Channel 4 gameshow 'Deal or No Deal'. Read more here.



Million-pound boost for Filton Aerospace Centre

Ambitious plans for a new centre celebrating Filton's aerospace heritage and providing a permanent home for Concorde 216 have received a million-pound boost from South Gloucestershire councillors. ?Council members have pledged £1.1m to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust to help develop a new museum and learning centre on the site of Filton's former airfield. When complete, it will become a key part of Filton's new Enterprise Area, a 120-acre employment location focused on the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors. Read more here.

Bristol Airport announces deal with Lufthansa

Better access from Bristol Airport to 235 global destinations has been promised, thanks to a new codeshare agreement between German airline Lufthansa and the UK's bmi regional.?The move enables travellers from Bristol to connect twice daily to Frankfurt and daily to Munich, providing access to Lufthansa's worldwide network, as well as offering benefits to inbound tourism. It brings Lufthansa back to Bristol Airport for the first time in five years. More details here.

Innovation is quay in Bath

A £5 million investment in the Bath Quays Waterside Project is set to transform the area along the River Avon in Bath City Centre. The aim is to reconnect the river to the heart of the city and improve the public space.?Bath and North East Somerset Council has joined forces with the Environment Agency and is using money from WE LEP to widen the river on the north side, improve flood defences and infrastructure, raise river walls on the south side and improve the river edge at Newark Works.?The project is crucial to getting the green light for planning consent for new development as part of the Enterprise Area regeneration plans for new homes and jobs, but it will also reduce existing flood risk to properties on Lower Bristol Road. Read
full feature here.

New enterprise support service for South Bristol

An enterprise support service to help new, young and maturing businesses and social enterprises has been launched as part of the Filwood Green Business Park project.?The £270,000 service will mainly focus on developing enterprise in South Bristol, offering advice, workshops and networking opportunities. ?The scheme is part of the new £11.6m Filwood Green Business Park project, which broke first ground last month and aims to provide up to 350 jobs. Find out more here.

Express business lounge latest announcement for J21

The Hive, North Somerset's landmark new workspace and business development centre which is due to open in the next few weeks, has announced details of the 'Hive Express Business Lounge'.?Based in the Weston Business Quarter on the old Weston airfield site, Hive Express will be a work hub for people who need a hot desk facility to rent space by the hour or day. ?The 20,000 sq ft office space will be managed by the North Somerset Enterprise Agency. Read more here.



Planning application for North Fringe to Hengrove Metrobus South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils have submitted a planning application for the North Fringe to Hengrove MetroBus (NFHP) scheme.?The scheme will link areas of housing and economic growth in the North and East Fringe of the Bristol urban area, with a major regeneration area in South Bristol via Bristol City Centre. ?Read the overview to the scheme proposals and find out how to comment on the proposals here.

More trains and fewer delays as Network Rail kicks off £7bn programme Network Rail have launched their ambitious five-year plan, which will see the busiest parts of the Western route transformed by more than £7bn of investment. Alongside their industry partners, they plan to deliver a programme to tackle congestion on the Great Western mail line, providing more than 10,000 extra commuter seats at peak times.?The programme includes building new tracks at Bristol, Oxford and Reading, and a £700m Western Hub programme in Bristol to provide more trains, better connectivity and improved performance by 2019. Find out more here.

Low carbon bus symposium Leading innovators from the low carbon bus industry recently met in Bristol to explore the opportunities, options and practical local arrangements needed to bring zero emission buses to the West of England.?Hosted by WE LEP and Bristol European Green Capital 2015, the event was organised by the TravelWest transport team. Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport, sent a video keynote address. Read more and watch the video here.



N-Gaged are first employer to achieve Employability Chartermark

N-Gaged Training & Recruitment has become the first employer to achieve the Employability Chartermark. ?This new initiative, developed by WE LEP, has been created in response to calls from businesses for young people to be more work ready. ?N-Gaged were praised in particular for their commitment to developing active links with schools. Mark Arnold, managing director, said: "Being a part of the Employability Chartermark has really helped us focus our activity and supported our own staff development." Find out more about the scheme and how your business can get involved here.

University seeks enterpreneurs facing testing times

The University of Bath is working with entrepreneurs and small businesses who are facing or have experienced the failure of their business to better understand how people cope with the experience and recover. Dr Orla Byrne, who is leading the study, is a prize fellow in Entrepreneurship at the University’s School of Management.?“The collapse of a business is part of business life but it’s still a taboo,” said Dr Byrne. “It has a huge emotional impact for individuals and a ripple effect around them, but it’s so rarely discussed.” To take part in the research, email Orla.

UWE Bristol Careers launch Undergrad Internships for summer

UWE Bristol's renowned Undergraduate Internship Scheme is now open for business this summer to students and employers. Now in its fourth year, the scheme inspires students to gain invaluable work experience through eight-week internships.?The University subsidises the scheme as an incentive for local businesses to take part and guarantee at least minimum wage for the students taking part.?Last year, 120 undergraduates benefitted from the programme and 80 businesses partnered with UWE Bristol. Read more here.

Firms needed to support South Glos pilot studio school

South Gloucestershire Council is keen to collaborate with commercial partners to deliver Studio Schools in the area, as an innovative way to bridge the gap between 'real-world business need' and academic achievement.?The council is looking for sponsors for a pilot Studio School in Staple Hill. Sponsorship doesn't have to be financial - it can be fulfilled by an offer of industry expertise, hosting student projects or work experience opportunities. Full story here.

Weston apprentices honoured in first ever pier graduation

Weston College apprentices have celebrated a double first on the town's Grand Pier. Around 70 apprentices took part in the 'TrailBlazer' event, the first of its kind to be held by a UK college and the first graduation ceremony ever to be held entirely on a pier. ?Despite inclement weather, apprentices gathered from many different fields to receive certificates and hear inspirational speeches from fellow students, employers and the BBC's 'The Apprentice' finalist, Jim Eastwood. The event was funded by the National Apprenticeship Service. Read more.



Bath City Conference April 30th 2014

Taking place at the Guildhall Bath, the aim of the day is to engage with the people of Bath to find out what they think and value in the city. A broad range of local businesses, community groups, public organisations, Council departments and more will be showcasing their services and there will be the opportunity to meet the leader of the council, Cllr Paul Crossley, and a range of other people. Find out more here

Bristol Festival of Ideas 1-31 May 2014

This is the tenth year of the festival and features a packed programme with some of the world's best thinkers. Speakers and debates include Lynn Barber, Arianna Huffington, Irvine Welsh, Young People's Festival of Ideas and No More Page 3. Find out more & download the brochure here. Follow on Twitter @FestivalofIdeas. 

Bristol Food Connections Festival 1-11 May 2014

Bristol Food Connections is a brand new festival and features a broad programme of events and festivities all across the city. Main sites include a BBC Hub on the waterfront and Eat, Drink, Bristol Fashion in Queen Square. Producer markets, a huge food trail, debates, good food walks and cookery classes and demos are just some examples of what to expect. Visit the website here.

WE LEP Collaboratorium May 7th 2014

The first of three events this year being organised by WE LEP to bring all of the 11 sector groups and cross cutting groups together. The aim is to synchronise activities across the LEP and drive a closer collaborative working environment. WE LEP have also joined up with the UWE ‘Distinguished Executive Address’, so there will be a keynote speech from Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange. To find out more, email LEP Events.

Nearer to Zero Conference May 6th 2014

Zero Carbon Hub are working with South Gloucestershire Council and WE LEP to bring together planners, house builders and professionals across the housing sector to review the challenge of achieving zero carbon homes from 2016. Find out more and book your place here.  



Strong first year for Invest Bristol & Bath

The Invest Bristol & Bath (IBB) team is celebrating a successful first year, having supported 30 new companies locate or expand in the West of England area. The team has achieved all of its major targets, with the successfully landed projects having the potential to create over 530 jobs in the next three years.

Recognised as the top region in England for FDI strategy, Bristol & Bath have attracted a wide range of new international and national companies from a mix of industries including creative, low carbon, high tech, and advanced engineering and aerospace.

One of the main new companies to land with the support of IBB is Kainos, a specialist independent software company from Belfast, who has just opened an office in Bristol city centre and has ambitious expansion plans that will see the creation of up to 80 new jobs.

New clients as well as growth in existing accounts have also helped Stripe OLT, an IT Services company, expand its presence in the region. The company is moving to new premises in central Bristol and will be creating ten new jobs in the area supported by IBB and the WE LEP skills team.

Invest Bristol & Bath also led a successful delegation to MIPIM, the international property event in Cannes, last month. Showcasing the region's substantial development opportunities and with an innovative stand modelled on Bristol's new Engine Shed, the team held over 50 meetings with potential investors and developers and around 500 visitors to the stand.

Find out more about the team and the services they offer here.

News In Brief

BREAKING NEWS: Government announces £7m for Bristol’s European Green Capital 2015

The government has announced a £7 million boost to Bristol to support its role as European Green Capital 2015. In a visit to the city today by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said the money "would enable Bristol to fulfil its potential and help generate millions of pounds of new green investment. Bristol is the only UK city to have won the award since it was launched in 2008. Read the BBC's coverage on the announcement here.

Plan to develop the West’s £35bn economy revealed

The Strategic Economic Plan developed by WE LEP and its partners has now been submitted to government for a share of the annual £2 billion Local Growth Fund. It’s the first time a plan of this scale and depth has been developed and sets out how the region will develop its £25 billion economy over the next six years, creating 25,500 jobs. Read the plan here.

High growth companies on the rise

The proportion of high-growth companies in the South West has risen by a quarter, according to a study by Ledbury Research for Barclays and the Business Growth Fund for the fourth Entrepreneurs Index. The findings reflect an increase in entrepreneurial activity and confirm the South West's economic recovery is gathering pace. Read more here.

SETsquared one of the best incubators in the world

SETsquared’s business incubator – a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Surrey and Southampton – has been ranked joint best in the UK and fourth best globally in the latest report by UBI Index. Since 2002, it has helped over 1,000 high tech start ups attract some £1.2bn investment. Read more here.

Roman Baths has three times the charm in tourism awards

The Roman Baths, managed by Bath & North East Somerset Council, has been rated by its visitors as one of the UK's best tourist attractions for the third year in a row. It was one of only seven attractions in England to win the prestigious UK Merit Awards of Excellence in the CIE Awards, known as the 'Tourism Oscars'. Find out more.

Final call for businesses to enter local awards

The region's best and brightest companies are being invited to celebrate their achievements by entering the Bristol Post Business Awards. The awards, in association with UWE Bristol, are open until May 2 with 16 categories covering sectors including retail, leisure, environment and, in a new category this year, creative and technology. Find out more and enter here.

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