Inward Investment

Why the Heart of the South West?

Companies choose to relocate here to become part of established advanced engineering, manufacturing and hi-tech industry clusters, powered by innovative research and design linked to world-leading colleges and universities.

Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay are vibrant and diverse areas which make up the Heart of the South West – the destination of choice for growing companies – proud to be in the UK, Europe’s leading Country for foreign direct investment.

The area offers a highly skilled, affordable labour supply and exceptional quality and competitive development sites, offices, innovation centres, Enterprise Zones and a Food Enterprise Zone. Enterprise Zones offer simplified planning and business support and incentives, find out more in the Business Support section.

An enticing mix of cities, rural and coastal areas ensure an unbeatable quality of life. Excellent transport and connectivity links mean the Heart of the South West is within easy reach of London, the Midlands and countless international destinations by air, road, rail and sea.

The Heart of the South West has been at the forefront of innovation in the marine industry, as well as experiencing success and growth in the aerospace industry for many years. The area is now home to the largest construction project in Europe, with an £18 billion investment into new nuclear for a generation. Recent growth in the Photonics industry, with a new state of the art innovation centre opens even more opportunities for businesses investing in the Heart of the South West. For more information on these opportunities see the links below.


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    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.