What is the LEP

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership – covering Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay – is one of the 38 LEPs in England. We are a business-led partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and colleges.

David Ralph
David Ralph, CEO of HotSW LEP

What we do

  • Identify common priorities
  • Attract resources and investment
  • Make a difference to productivity and  prosperity

A thorough analysis of the opportunities for economic prosperity in the Heart of the South West  were presented in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) published in 2014 which set out the rationale to generate growth and attract inward investment from business and UK and EU government.   Building upon the SEP; the LEP and the Heart of the South West Joint Committee published the Productivity Strategy in 2018, and in 2019 the LEP worked on its Local Industrial Strategy which aligned with the Government’s National Industrial Strategy.

Please take a look at the Introduction to the HotSW LEP presentation from David Ralph, CEO for more of an insight into the HotSW LEP.

The LEP’s business-led partnership comprises 4 County and Unitary Authorities, 12 District Authorities, 4 Universities and 10 FE colleges across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

We are set up to ensure involvement from a wide base, involving leaders and specialists from the public, private, education and third sectors. We use stringent processes around our decision making to ensure the impartiality and transparency expected when using public money. We also have a lean target operating model to ensure we can deliver this with a minimal level of bureaucracy.

See our Policies page for details of how we demonstrate our accountability in line with the high standards required of a not-for-profit organisation managing public funds.

That we are business-led, means that our Board is made up private sector leaders alongside those from the public and social enterprise sectors. Together these provide an essential steer to ensuring our strategies aim for what the business community needs to increase prosperity and productivity.

Send us a message

    David Ralph

    Chief Executive

    David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

    Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

    David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.