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January 2016


The Range chooses Avonmouth/Sevenside Enterprise Area for giant new distribution centre creating 1,000 jobs
More than 1,000 jobs are set to be created after retailer The Range completed a deal to buy land for a new 1.2m sq ft South of England distribution centre at Central Park, Bristol. The building is scheduled for completion by 2017 and represents a £100m investment in one of the largest distribution deals ever seen in the South West. more

New initiative launched to provide support for West of England businesses
The West of England Growth Hub offers a range of services including finance assistance, access to skills packages, innovation and research advice and export support.

The Growth Hub, powered by Business West for the West of England LEP, is an online community of business knowledge and skills partners helping businesses looking to grow or engage with any publicly funded business support project.

Destination Bristol campaign secures £70m and more than 1,300 jobs
A three year marketing campaign which formed part of VisitEngland’s Growing Tourism Locally project, has generated an additional £70.8m for Bristol and the surrounding area and 1,315 extra full time equivalent jobs.

Destination Bristol has collaborated with organisations such as the Lonely Planet and Great Western Railways, in its bid to cement Bristol as one of the UKs top city break locations. more

Bristol Airport flying high
Bristol Airport has been named the best performing UK airport for the second year running in a league table measuring punctuality of flights across the globe.  With an on-time performance rating of 88.64% Bristol ranked 6th in European, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region and tenth overall in the world.

The Airport has reported record passenger numbers of 6.76m last year representing a 7.7% increase year on year for the UKs third largest regional airport. more. To support increased numbers, The Princess Royal officially opened the £8.6m terminal extension which has significantly enlarged the departure lounge and has an outdoor rooftop terrace area. more



West of England LEADER Fund now open for grant applications
The new West of England LEADER programme is now open for application for grants from rural businesses and communities across the region. Grants for capital projects of up to £100,000 to help support growth and sustainability can be applied for. more

Bath cycle hire scheme becomes self-sufficient
Bath’s public cycle hire scheme Nextbike (introduced in June ’14) has proved so popular, with rentals hitting more than 1,000 per month, that the scheme originally supported by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, is now one of the few financially self-sufficient schemes in operation. Nextbike was introduced to Bath in June 2014 and now has 11 stations. more

The council have recently been awarded a Fleet Hero Award for their efforts to cut carbon emissions with innovative sustainable transport strategies.

Bristol attracts £3.5bn of commercial property investment in a decade
CBRE have reported that Bristol came sixth out of 12 Core Cities ranked in terms of commercial property investment  with £3.5bn invested over the past 10 years and the third highest in total industrial investment (£501m) behind Aberdeen and Birmingham. more

A new report from Hartnell Taylor Cook confirmed that Bristol’s office investment market was booming and JLL have forecast 2016 will be a “watershed” year in the redevelopment of Bristol following a combination of strong economic conditions and improvements to the city’s infrastructure.

Strong support for Portishead branch line
A report has shown a strong vote of support has been given to the Portishead branch railway line by local people with 95% of respondents supporting the proposals “entirely” or “mainly”. 

The line is part of the West of England’s £100m MetroWest programme to improve local rail lines and services.

UWE helping airlines clean up their act
Bristol based Intercede Ventures and UWE have teamed up to develop a pioneering  hand held device which could reduce airlines’ fuel bills and cut their carbon footprints by measuring precisely how much dirt has accumulated on an aircraft’s surface and determine whether it increases drag. more

BBC 6 Music Festival comes to Bristol
BBC radio 6 Music’s third annual festival will be held in Bristol (12 – 14 February). The line-up will include local artists such as Primal Scream and Tricky performing at venues including Colston Hall and the O2 Academy.

In further good news for the city’s art and culture scene, Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol, have been awarded Arts Council funding. more

Regeneration programme drives forward as Weston –super-Mare is awarded Purple Flag
Weston-super-Mare is celebrating after being awarded the prestigious Purple Flag for its evening and night-time economy in recognition of its vibrant mix of night-time entertainment while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

B&NES Chief Executive awarded OBE
Dr Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of Bath & North East Somerset Council has been awarded an OBE for her long standing commitment to public services.

Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of the Council said “It is an honour for the Council to have a chief executive that is so highly regarded as a role model for public services and women throughout the UK”. more

New API unlocks travel value for Bristol City Council
A new application programme interface (API) created by Bristol City Council has been designed to provide information such as live bus and train times, stop locations, route maps and as well as instant updates on occupancy in local car parks and electric vehicle charging locations.

The council’s City Innovation team appointed Urban Things, the company behind the successful BusChecker app, to develop the API which will provide free access to transport data in one place, making it possible for innovative technologies to be developed. more



National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2016 toolkits
NAW 2016 runs from 14 – 18 March and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.  Get involved and download a toolkit containing information and activity suggestions for NAW.

The West of England LEP also produces a weekly bulletin of all apprenticeship vacancies in the region.

Discover the possibilities of cyberspace at SGS College Open Event
SGS College is holding an Open Event on 23 January at its new site in Berkeley for those looking to study a career in Cyber Security. 

The new campus, due to open in September supports the Government’s plans to significantly grow Cyber Security in the UK by offering some of the best training facilities in the country for the industry.

Careers Enterprise Company coordinator appointed to develop employer engagement programmes
Following the announcement that the West of England LEP is taking part in the first wave of a new government led national programme to unlock the potential of young people (aged 12 – 18), the LEP has recruited a Careers Enterprise Coordinator.

Beverly Walker will develop a local Enterprise Adviser Network and work directly with leadership teams at local schools and employers to develop effective engagement plans. Businesses wishing to get involved should contact Beverly.

Pathways to Professions – the Care sector (23 February, Bristol)
The National Careers Service is offering careers advisers and teachers in the West of England the opportunity to hear from key industry professionals in the care sector and receive up to date information on pathways to progression routes and opportunities available in the region. Register here.

Apprenticeship Levy Survey
The Skills Funding Agency has launched an apprenticeship levy survey to understand how businesses who take on apprentices would like to access their levy funds and use these to make payments to training providers. 

Employers will only have to pay the 0.5% levy (from April ’17) if their pay bill is over £3 million. The survey closes Friday 5 February.



Growth investment for South Gloucestershire tech firm
Vistair, an airline safety software specialist with HQ in Bradley Stoke, have landed a £9m investment from Synova Capital to support its international growth ambitions. Vistair, has developed cloud-hosted products provide digital information for pilots and crews and replacing the need to carry paper based manuals. more

North Somerset internet service provider (ISP) to be CityFibre’s Gigabit City launch partner
Digital infrastructure provider, CityFibre, is partnering with ISP Triangle Networks to provide an alternative digital infrastructure in Bristol and the surrounding area. Clevedon based Triangle Networks has committed a minimum of 100 new customers on the network by year end as part of the Bristol Gigabit City project launching in February.

Could you be Bristol’s Best Green Small Business?
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Bristol has team up with Go Green to find Bristol’s Best Green Small Businesses. The winner will be announced at the Go Green 2016 Awards in February and will receive £2,000 to spend on further green initiatives for their business. more

Are you a West of England business looking to grow internationally?
The Enterprise Europe Network is a free business support network which helps ambitious businesses grow internationally.  The network connects innovators with manufacturers, distributors, co-developers and suppliers overseas. Local West of England advisors can advise those looking to commercialise new ideas and succeed in new markets.

The EEN provide opportunities at a number of sector specific international events that can provide unique insights and valuable new contacts.

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