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March 2016


Devolution deal proposed to boost the West of England economy
A devolution deal offering to boost the West of England economy with over £1billion worth of investment and bringing new opportunities for businesses and residents was announced in the Chancellor’s budget.

Robert Sinclair, Interim Chair of the West of England LEP said “Businesses in the West of England are very supportive of this ambitious devolution deal which transfers new strategic powers and responsibilities to local decision-makers.” more

Business Secretary welcomes plans for automotive research centre at Bristol & Bath Science Park (BBSP)
Sajid Javid has endorsed ambitious plans to develop a world-class automotive research centre on the BBSP which will put the UK in the driving seat for innovation in the global industry.

The £50m project, to be built by the University of Bath, will bring investment and jobs to the region and build on the university’s Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC). more

Meanwhile HiETA Technologies, a West of England Growth Fund beneficiary, has formally opened its new centre within BBSP’s grow on space creating six new jobs. HiETA will be one of the first companies in the UK to offer a full solution service within the additive manufacturing industry. more

Highlights from regions creative sector
The Watershed in Bristol has received £500,000 from Arts Council England to develop a Regional Arts Incubation Network (RAIN) to increase the contribution the sector makes to the regions creative economy. RAIN will develop tailored incubation and business support packages for creative practitioners. 

The project is a partnership between The West of England LEP, Watershed, UWE, The Guild Bath Knowle West Media Centre and Spike Island.

The wealth of small screen creativity in Bristol was celebrated at the Royal Television Society West of England Awards where the City’s television industry swept the board picking up awards including its acclaimed natural history output and Bottle Yard studio. 

The 2015 West of England Creative Employment Programme has provided funding to create new paid opportunities for young people looking to start their career in the creative & cultural sector.  Beneficiaries include Crack Magazine who were able to expand their team by seven new members and have now launched magazines across Europe.

Welcome rise in South West exports
New figures released by HM Revenue and Customs, show that South West exporters outperformed the national picture last year, increasing the volume of overseas sales by 10.6% (£1.4bn) compared to a national decrease of 2.7%. more

Demand for healthcare in China is soaring - West of England healthcare businesses looking to export products or services to China will be able to get advice at a half day forum in Bristol in May supported by UK Trade and Investment, Healthcare UK and the Institute of Directors. more

A “Seats for Start Ups” competition has been launched by Airline bmi regional, the Engine Shed and UK Trade & Investment, aimed at young enterprises wanting to expand in new UK and European markets. It is open to businesses in the region which have been trading less than five years and have a turnover of less than £500,000 per annum. Winners will receive an hours consultation with a UKTI expert and return flights to Europe on bmi regional’s network.



Bristol and Bath take centre stage at Heathrow
New advertisements featuring Bristol & Bath have gone live across all terminals as part of Heathrow’s bid to drive growth in the UK’s great cities and regions. The six week partnership with Invest Bristol and Bath aimed at encouraging tourism, investment and highlights the regions strengths in virtual reality, animation, and robotics. more

Economic boost as 2016 Tour of Britain comes through the West of England
Bristol and Bath are set to benefit as they play host to the Tour of Britain, British Cycling’s premier road cycling event. Stage 5 of the race will finish in Bath on September 8 and the stage 7 of the race will take place with in Bristol on September 10. The events will attract thousands of visitors with opportunities for schools to get involved. more

2017 will be a celebration of the part sport plays across Bristol’s communities, with a full programme of events planned, including the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, as the City is named the UK’s European City of Sport for 2017. more

Bath businesses urged to Go Green
Go Green, a business initiative to drive sustainability in the workplace, has been launched in Bath after its Bristol success. A collaboration between Business West and Low Carbon South Wet, it signposts organisations to resources that can help them be greener. more

Help shape Bristol Temple Quarter
The council has launched a consultation on a framework for the future development of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (BTQEZ). Local residents and businesses are invited to have their say on the proposals, which cover development layout, land use, public spaces, transport and access. The deadline for comments is 14th April 2016. more

Flagship venues continue to thrive
The Create Centre has won two Gold awards at the 2016 Fairtrade Business Awards ceremony and the Green Business Park in Filwood has achieved a top sustainability rating, recognising it as a leading environmentally friendly building.

The Hive in North Somerset have four new tenants, with two thirds of the centre now occupied, meaning that plans for the second phase of its development to create an additional 40 offices can move forward.

Special ambassador award for Professor Joe McGeehan
Professor Joe McGeehan from the University of Bristol and former LEP Board member has been recognised for his long standing contribution to Bristol’s technology sectors with a Special Ambassador Award at the inaugural Edge Awards 2016. more



Business volunteers needed to support the strategic direction of local schools
As part of the Careers Enterprise Company initiative to create powerful connections between local businesses and education providers, we are look for volunteers to use their business networks to support local schools in developing their careers strategies and employer engagement plans.

If you think you can help and would like to find out more please the Enterprise Adviser Network pages on our website.

West of England LEP advises MPs on skills
Adam Powell, Director of Skills, attended a Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy as part of its inquiry into careers advice, information and guidance (CIEAG), providing evidence on existing initiatives been undertaken in the West of England to bring education and business closer together and advising on improvement that could be made. more

Campaigns launched to support women’s STEM and construction roles
The Lord Mayor of Bristol has launched “Bristol Girls Make It” designed to inspire girls to engage with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) by building stronger links with  professionals and teachers to share experiences on how to increase participation for girls particularly years five and six, before they move to secondary school. more

The campaign will also look at overcoming barriers that prevent women from pursuing careers in construction. more

SGS Berkeley Green Campus open event
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College will be holding a Berkeley Green Campus open day on Saturday 16 April, where students will have the opportunity to hear about the new Green Skills Centre and University Technical College (UTC) and find out about new cyber security, and digital technology provisions on offer from September 16. more

The college recently hosted the Ambitions Plus careers event which saw 2,000 students attend the interactive day offering a range of careers information.

National Apprenticeship Week
Weston College were successful in hitting their target of securing 100 pledges from businesses to create apprenticeships within 100 days of the launch of their award winning “100 in 100” campaign. more

The West of England LEP supported the “Building Bristol through Apprenticeships” event where local businesses joined with apprentices to show the contribution apprenticeships make to enterprise and the economy.

Plans go on show for new £3.3m Bath College Construction Skills Centre
Plans for gone on show for a £3.3 million state-of-the-art construction skills centre at Bath College Somer Valley Campus.

The centre, which has secured funding from the West of England LEP Local Growth Fund, will be a one stop shop for students looking to develop a career in the construction industry creating a talent pool for employers to find their future workforce. more  

Bristol becomes first English Learning City
Bristol has become the first city in England to become part of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, a network of cities around the world who work together to promote, plan and celebrate lifelong learning. more 



Green light for new Airbus Wing Integration Centre
South Gloucestershire Council has granted planning for a new research and development building, for the design and testing of new wing technologies as part of the Airbus “Wings of the Future” project.

The development in Filton will help establish the region as a centre of excellence in the aviation industry and ensure that the area continues to thrive as a major economic driver. more

West of England Growth Hub - register your interest and win a balloon ride
The West of England Growth Hub is the first port of call for businesses looking to grow and provides tailored search results and personalised recommendations based on individual business needs. Sign up now to be in with a chance of winning a hot air balloon ride.

Spotlight on regions strength in fintech and cyber security
Treasury minister, Harriett Baldwin visited Bristol as part of UK FinTech Week which celebrates the UKs status as a leading global fintech hub.

The minister took part in a round table event at the Engine Shed alongside other local fintech businesses, illustrating the Government’s recognition of the strength of Bristol & Bath’s capabilities across this sector. more

Bristol: Gigabit City launched
A scheme to bring ultra-fast internet speeds to Bristol businesses to boost the local economy has been launched, bringing some of the fastest speeds in Europe and transforming Bristol into a Gigabit City. As part of the “Gig Up Bristol” campaign, businesses are encouraged to register their interest to enable the provider to map areas of demand and prioritise roll-out. more

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