NEWS IN BRIEF
Local Growth Deal awards £86 million to the West of England
£86.4 million of new government money has been awarded to the West of England to boost economic growth, create jobs and deliver a total of £400 million of investment. The initial allocation of money has been awarded to deliver a number of key projects, including world-leading next generation broadband, a specialist robotics institute of technology, a dedicated growth hub for businesses and a raft of new or modernised colleges. Leaders from across the region have welcomed the deal as an economic boost for the area. Read the full story here.
High tech Bristol & Bath named world-leaders for innovation
A new report has named the Bristol & Bath region as a world-leading centre of innovation in high tech, creative and digital media. The Centre for Cities/McKinsey survey analysed industry sectors across the world and highlighted the region’s diverse combination of industries and strong networks as key to its success. Businesses in the cluster range from major players like Aardman Animations, HP Labs and Toshiba to small 3D printing and robotics technology start-ups, in what is described as a ‘lively ecosystem of enterprise’. Read the full story on Bristol Business News here.
£16.5m University Enterprise Zone for UWE Bristol
Bristol has been chosen as one of the first four places in the UK to have a University Enterprise Zone. The Zone is expected to create more than 500 jobs and generate £50m for the local economy. It will be located on UWE’s Frenchay Campus, and will provide a business ‘hatchery’, incubation and grow-on space for businesses specialising in robotics, biosciences, biomedicine and other high tech areas. The Zone has been developed in collaboration with the LEP and University of Bristol, with support from South Gloucestershire Council, the University of Bath and the West of England Academic Health Science Network. Read more here.
Bristol Airport sees busiest ever June
Bristol Airport has experienced its busiest ever June, with passenger numbers of 646,000 for the month. The increase represents an increase of 3.34% on June 2013 and brings the airport’s 12 month total to 6.23 million passengers, its highest since 2008. The airport is now aiming to enhance passenger numbers further after opening a new £6.5 million walkway and four new pre-boarding zones to serve six departure gates. Read the full story on Insider Media.
Foreign investment creates 1,600 new jobs in South West
The UK has attracted the most inward investment projects since records began in the 1980s, according to UKTI’s annual figures for 2013/14. The South West region attracted 67 foreign investments, creating 1,627 new jobs and safeguarding a further 3,903. In the West of England LEP area, there were 27 new investment projects by overseas companies, creating 648 new jobs. Read more here.
LEP launches new funding round to help local businesses grow
A third round of the WE LEP’s West of England Growth Fund has been announced this week and businesses are being encouraged to get in touch quickly for a share of the money.
Two previous rounds have already seen nearly 300 businesses successfully bid for a share of the £25 million pot, which aims to bring about job creation and private sector investment. The money can be used towards capital investment for SMEs, research and development, training and employment for disabled or disadvantaged workers. Companies can apply for between £10k-80k but the money must be spent by March 31st 2015. Deadline for applications is September 8th. Find out more and apply here.
£840,000 award for UK’s first man-made surfing lake
A new surfing lake in South Glos is the latest beneficiary of the WE LEP’s West of England Growth Fund. The Wave have just been awarded £840,000 from the fund to boost their £6.4 million scheme.
Their plan is to build the UK’s first man-made surfing lake at Washingpool Farm and Over Court Farm in South Gloucestershire and last month they were granted planning permission from the council to go ahead with the project. The Wave is expected to create around 50 new jobs at the site and they are also planning an apprenticeship scheme. Follow the Wave’s plans on Twitter @TheWaveUK.
Three operators chosen to bid for arena
Three bidders have made it through the first round in the quest to find an operator to run the 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena, set to open in 2017.
The potential operators will now be invited to submit a detailed tender outlining how they would run the facility, including the type of programme expected and the amount they would pay as an annual lease to Bristol City Council.
Bidders have until September 1st to submit their tenders. The council will select a preferred bidder for the £91 million venue in October, which will be followed by the appointment of a design team. Construction work is anticipated to start in early 2016, completing in Autumn 2017. Read more here.
North Somerset secures £1.3m for sustainable transport
North Somerset Council has successfully bid for an additional £1.3 million of funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
As part of a joint bid with neighbouring authorities in the West of England, the council has been awarded the funding to continue to improve access to employment. The money will be used to fund projects that encourage people at ‘change points’ in their life, such as moving house, changing job or school, to adopt a more sustainable travel behavior. The programme will build on the success of the previous two years of work by developing new links in Weston-super-Mare and the Junction 21 Enterprise Area, as well as improving links between Clevedon, Portishead, Nailsea and Bristol. Read more here.
Agilisys creating 30 new jobs in North Somerset
A partnership between North Somerset Council and IT support services company Agilisys will bring 30 new jobs to the area.
Agilisys has secured a contract with Westminster City Council to provide a customer contact centre and back office support. The new contact centre operation will run from Agilisys’ South West customer services hub in Weston-super-Mare.
Since the partnership with the council began in 2010, Agilisys has brought more than 175 new jobs to North Somerset, out of a planned 250 over the length of the contract. Find out more here.
Tourism boost for Bath
Bath is gearing up for a boost to its visitor numbers, following the announcement of a relaxation of visa applications for Chinese tourists. From the autumn, Chinese visitors to the UK and Ireland will be able to use a single visitor visa without requiring separate visas to each of the two countries.
According to new research from Barclays, the South West is the preferred destination for Chinese tourists. Between 2014-17, the biggest growth will be in spending by visitors from China, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. More here.
£1m investment in Radstock road system
Bath & North East Somerset Council is starting work to improve the road system in Radstock to support new homes and jobs this week. Over £1 million has been granted by Government to support the upgrade of the road system to help people move around the town better, relieve congestion and pave the way for new homes and jobs on former railway land.
Next month, Linden Homes expect to start work on the first phase of development to provide 70 new homes, retail and community space and a public car park. Read more here.
Altran opens Filton base to develop centre of advanced engineering
High-value engineering firm Altran UK has opened a second office in Bristol to expand its support to major aerospace and defence companies across the South West and create a centre of excellence for innovation.
The new office is in the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Filton, part of the Filton Enterprise Area, which is recognised as a hub for innovation in aerospace and defence.
Altran operates in key areas such as advanced systems, aerostructures, propulsion, aerodynamics and manufacturing engineering. Read more here.
Making cities playable
Bristol’s Watershed is hosting a two-day ‘Make the City Playable’ conference on 10th & 11th September.
Featuring big names such as Google Creative Lab’s Tom Uglow, architect Usman Haque, Bristol artist Luke Jerram, Ogilvy’s Tara Austin and academics from UWE Bristol, the international conference will explore the theme of ‘playable cities’, asking what it might mean for citizens, planners, tech giants, small companies, artists and designers in making the cities of the future.
The winning project of the 2014 Playable City Award, ‘Shadowing’, will also be unveiled at the conference. Find out more and book your place here.
West’s world-leading aerospace strength showcased at Farnborough
Invest Bristol & Bath led a South West delegation in banging the drum for the region in front of a global audience at Farnborough International Airshow last week.
Together with the Heart of the South West LEP and Dorset LEP, Invest Bristol & Bath joined forces with the West of England Aerospace Forum to showcase the South West’s aerospace sector and attract new investment.
The 49th Farnborough International Airshow is one of the world’s largest exhibitions and air displays.
The South West region has one of the largest and most significant aerospace clusters in the world, worth more than £7bn. Of the 15 international giants of aerospace, 14 have bases in the South West, which is also home to a network of world-class supply chain networks.
JUST EAT opens tech hub in Bristol
JUST EAT, the leading online takeaway service, is expanding its technology development with the opening of a new specialist hub in Bristol. The office will initially staff 10-15 employees, with a view to expand up to 30 employees by the end of 2015.
The new office, which will initially be based at Bristol’s Engine Shed, will work closely with JUST EAT’s tech team in London. The firm operates the world’s largest online marketplace for restaurant delivery, with over 36,000 restaurants in its network. In 2013 its revenues were £96.8 million.
Invest Bristol & Bath worked closely with JUST EAT on its decision to set up a base in Bristol, highlighting the region’s strengths as a major tech centre.
Bristol & Bath’s hotbed of innovation taken to Tech City
The cream of Bristol & Bath’s thriving digital cluster pitched to an audience of national investors at a Tech City UK event in London last week.
The delegation included Bonnie Dean, chief executive of Bristol & Bath Science Park, representatives from Invest Bristol & Bath, and digital start-ups Sure Sense and MyEnvolve.
MyEnvolve is revolutionizing public consultation and engagement by using big data to connect communities to decision-makers, while Sure Sense is behind an innovative table-based management system, improving the safety and efficiency of businesses.
The event gave attendees the chance to mix with tech talent from across the UK and look for new investment opportunities. Full story here.
UWE Bristol shortlisted for national business award
UWE Bristol’s Research, Business and Innovation department has been chosen as a finalist in the prestigious 2014 National Business Awards. UWE is the only university to be shortlisted for the awards, the winners of which will be announced in November.
UWE is in line for the BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year award. The finalists were selected by a panel of leading business figures. Read the full story.
Kainos targets female students with CodeShow
Digital solutions company Kainos recently held a unique CodeShow event aimed at female students. The one-day coding course was hosted at the Bristol City Academy and supported by the West of England LEP, and was the first of four CodeShows planned to run over the next year.
Kainos is aiming to inspire 11-14 year old students as the next generation of IT talent by giving them early access to a real-world software development environment. Read more here.
£1 milion pioneering research centre to test buildings of the future
The University of Bath is to open a pioneering research centre that will take a leading role in developing low carbon building materials for use in the buildings of the future.
The £1 million HIVE project is the first of its kind in the country and is being funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council. The HIVE is being developed on land owned by the Science Museum at Wroughton, near Swindon and has been designed to test new building materials’ energy efficiency, structural capability and flood resistance in realistic open-air conditions. Find out more here.
North Somerset Enterprise & Technology College gears up for opening
Only a few places are left at Weston-super-Mare’s newest education establishment as it gears up for opening in September.
The North Somerset Enterprise & Technology College will be a specialist STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) college, combining excellence of teaching with superb facilities and industry support. It will initially have an intake of 200 Year 12 students, based at Weston College’s South West Skills Campus. It will then transfer to its own campus in Junction 21 Enterprise Area and will grow to a capacity of 300 students in Key Stage 4 and 400 in the sixth form by 2017. Full story here.
LEPs are driving economic growth across an economic area. They provide a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.