400 business leaders attend Heart of the South West LEP events

Over 400 business leaders, individuals and representatives attended a series of Business Partnership planning sessions across the area last week (8th and 9th February).

Run by Heart of the South West (HotSW), the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay, the events were designed to showcase the proposals for the partnership and gather feedback from attendees.

The short seminars, held in Plymouth, Exeter, Ilminster and Bridgwater, were attended by a wide variety of organisations and individuals from throughout the area.

HotSW Chief Executive Jeremy Filmer-Bennett welcomed the area’s businesses and individuals to the events, outlining the evolution of the partnership and highlighting progress on issues such as the Growing Places Fund, and the signing of the trade agreement with UKTI, before opening the floor to discussions on the draft business plan.

Tim Jones, Chairman of HotSW said: “We are pleased by the number of people who attended the events and the calibre of feedback – it shows real tangible progress for the Partnership.

“HotSW is committed to capitalising on the area’s unique assets and will focus on key priorities that will make a real difference: the decisions may not always be popular, but they are fundamental to growing the economy.

“Businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, creating the area’s potential for growth.  We need to ensure our business plan reflects the needs of our area and our employers, so we will continue to work closely with our partners, keeping everyone informed throughout.”

LEP Board Member and Somerset County Councillor David Hall said: “The popularity of these events demonstrate how HotSW is taking off and how businesses are working closely with the Partnership. It is a clear sign of how both public and private sector can work together to achieve economic growth across our counties.

“It is vital that we take a united and coherent approach to improve our productivity, our prosperity and these events are helping us to achieve that.

To read the business plan, comment on the proposals and find out more about the Partnership, visit the HotSW website www.heartofswlep.co.uk

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For more information, contact Liz Waugh or Julie Everett at Coast Communications on 01752 847135 / 07966 388921

Heart of the South West

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay and the area’s District Councils. It is one of 32 partnerships created since the Government’s Local Growth White Paper published in October 2010. More information about the work of the LEP is available from the website www.heartofswlep.co.uk.