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November 2015


West of England LEP welcomes Enterprise Zone news
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn statement that Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (BTQEZ) extension and the Bath and Somer Valley proposals were approved as a combined bid, with details to be confirmed.

The deal is a boost to Somer Valley’s economy with opportunities for business to relocate and grow, providing investment and jobs for the long term. It is also expected that additional funds raised by the BTQEZ expansion will assist in the much needed redevelopment of Temple Meads station.

In further good news for the region, £5m of funding was confirmed for Colston Hall. more

SETsquared named “world best” university business incubator
SETsquared has been recognised as the best performing university business incubator in the world. From a start-up 13 years ago, SETsquared has supported over 1,000 hi-tech start-ups to develop and raise more than £1bn of investment, as well as contributing over £3.8bn in GVA to the UK economy. The partnership currently supports 265 companies across its centres and has created over 9,000 new jobs, with an estimated 14,200 to be created by 2025. more

It has also been announced that Nick Sturge, Director at the Engine Shed and SETsquared, has been named as the new Institute of Directors’ (IoD) South West regional chairman. more

What is Productivity? Delegates tackle key local economic issues at West of England LEP annual conference
150 local business delegates attended the LEP annual conference on the key theme of “Productivity”. Following a keynote speech from Prof Andrew Graves, University of Bath School of Management, stakeholders heard how partners are tackling issues such as transport, housing, health and skills. more
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An Impact Report providing intelligence on what the LEP is about and how public and private sector partners work together and a new Skills Prospectus outlining how and where to go to develop the skills that local employers want, were launched at the event.

£2.5m engineering centre opens in Weston-super-Mare
Weston College now offers a full range of engineering and manufacturing courses at their new Future Technology Centre which will help develop a skilled workforce in North Somerset and the wider area. The £2.5m centre, supported by the West of England LEP, was officially opened on 2 November. more

Could you be an ambassador for the West of England?
Invest Bristol and Bath (IBB), the region’s inward investment agency, recognise that business leaders and residents are the most powerful, passionate and authentic advocates of any town or city who get the message across better than any other form of advertising.

IBB are building a network across Bristol and Bath, empowering people to sell the region by giving them the tools and knowledge to add to their own experiences and provide a greater voice than a stand-alone agency could ever hope to have. more

ERDF funding available soon
European Regional Development Fund encourages sustainable business growth through innovation, support to SMEs and a focus on low carbon activity. The LEP will be hosting briefing sessions to provide details of how to apply in early December. more

Register for ERDF Call briefing session SME Growth, SME Growth (Social Enterprise) or Innovation


Have your say on housing and transport provision in the West of England
The four West of England councils are giving people across the region the opportunity to shape housing and transport provision for their area over the next 20 years. more #WEbuildourfuture

West of England’s innovative tech start up scene praised by London venture capital investor
London based Downing Ventures, launched a year ago, has invested almost a third of its entire portfolio in start-ups based in the Bristol Bath area confirming the West of England’s reputation as one of Europe’s most attractive places for investment in start-up companies.

Bath has also received official government recognition that it is leading the way in smart city technology after Bath:Hacked, who use open data to improve community life, was praised by Digital Minister, Ed Vaisey

Bath Quays bridge design announced whilst South Gloucestershire bridge wins prestigious accolade
Bath & North East Somerset Council has revealed the winning design for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge - submitted by Paris based consultancy Marc Mimram, it is entitled “Between History and Modernity”. more

Meanwhile an innovative bridge assembled at the National Composites Centre in Emersons Green and installed in Frampton Cotterell has picked up a Prime Ministers’s Better Building Award. more

West of England world leading tidal energy sector creates business links with China
The West of England is creating strong business links with China after a delegation of government officials from the Zhejiang province (which boasts one of the best tidal stream resources in Chinese waters), visited Bristol to discuss collaboration on tidal energy projects. The visit was part of the Bristol 2015 Marine Energy Accelerator Programme (MEAP). more

£1m crowdfunding scheme aims to build a Better Bristol
An innovative crowdfunding project to raise more than £1m for projects and businesses with positive social and environmental impacts is being launched by Bristol Green Capital Partnership to secure the legacy of Bristol’s year as Green Capital and ensure the city remain at the forefront of social enterprise and ethical investment. more

Record rent for Aztec West letting signals a recovery of out of town office market
A refurbished office building in Aztec West is now fully let and has achieved a record rent  for the out of town market (21 per sq ft on a 10yr lease) demonstrating  the strong recovery in the office park sector and highlighting the demand for high quality energy  efficient space. more

Following Dismaland, Tropicana to host new shows
North Somerset Council has announced a spend of £550,000 on further improvements to the former Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare following the success of Dismaland. This will enable it to accommodate future events safely such as the eight “Theatre @ The Bay” shows due to take place during December and January. more

Local business success
Ultrahaptics, a leading developer of technology that uses utrasound to create tactile sensations in mid-air has been awarded £10.1m to grow its business globally. more

West of England Growth Fund beneficiary, Digital Visitor, has been nominated for two Drum awards including social media agency of the year. more

A competition led by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, resulted in two West of England companies, CFMS Services and Zenotech, securing a share of a £47m government fund to develop aerospace technology. more

South Gloucestershire set to save more than £169K and 733 tonnes of CO2 in a year
The introduction of new state of the art Led street lighting is being rolled out across South Gloucestershire replacing 30,000 lanterns with the aim of saving 60% of the annual cost of energy and carbon emissions. The new technology allows the council to more accurately control light levels using innovative GPS technology. more



Business volunteers sought for new national Enterprise Adviser programme
As part of the national Enterprise Adviser Network programme, the West of England LEP will establish a high quality network of business volunteers (Enterprise Advisers) to work with schools to develop a careers and enterprise plan that will unlock the potential of young people by strengthening links between schools and colleges, employers and careers, and enterprise bodies.
If you are an employer or employee, and wish to make a positive strategic addition to improving school-employer engagement across the City Region, please register your interest

UWE and Weston College partnership announced
Weston College has taken the first steps towards becoming a university after announcing a new partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE), which will see it become a university centre and run courses on behalf of UWE.

UWE will work with Weston College and the West of England LEP to create a 'learning village' for Weston-super-Mare, providing education at all levels, with higher education acting as a catalyst for regeneration. more



First bids for “Poo Bus” service
Following a successful trial for the first bio bus, First West of England, alongside local authority partners, has launched a bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicle for a fleet of 110 double decker bio-buses, sometimes known as “poo buses”. The bus is powered by Bio-Methane which is crated using human and food waste. more

Bristol to connect to North America with new £99 WOW Air route
Bristol is to become WOW air’s second UK departure point for flights to Iceland and North America from May 2016.

EasyJet has also announced that it will be adding a 13th aircraft to its Bristol operations in 2016 to cater for extra demand. The airline recently celebrated the start of two new routes from Bristol to Basel and Vienna, expected to carry around 78,000 passengers annually. more

50km MetroBus network construction on track
Construction of the network is underway across the West of England including the Stoke Gifford Transport Link that will connect Parkway north roundabout with the A4174 ring road at Harry Stoke as well as the South Bristol link and in the city centre where major improvements include reducing traffic around the Cenotaph. 

MetroBus is creating new public spaces and segregated paths for cyclists across the network and will use green buses on a combination of segregated busways and bus lanes. Services will be more reliable and quicker for longer bus journeys than current bus services.
By reducing congestion and enhancing public transport links, MetroBus plays a key role in supporting future economic development across the West of England. Services are expected to start operating in 2017. more  

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Henbury rail station consultation
As part of the MetroWest rail investment, a consultation on the location of a new Henbury rail station will launch on 30 November and run for 8 weeks until 25 January 2016. There will be two exhibitions at Henbury Library in early December where members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions. The online questionnaire will be available from 30 November. more

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