The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership with support from partners at TDA have won a competitive bid to promote the area’s High Potential Opportunity in Photonics & Microelectronics, working as part of UK wide programme with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the area.
Already this designation is reaping rewards with two international visits having been arranged for later this summer.
The Heart of the South West has unique strengths in robust and resilient photonics and microelectronics, built up from a world-class experience supplying the aerospace, marine and nuclear sectors which also key sectors in the region.
Companies who integrate critical light and electronics based solutions needed by the global connected and autonomous vehicles industry can utilise the capabilities the Heart of the South West can offer to help future technology development.
Working closely with the global network of the Department of International Trade the Heart of the South West LEP and partners will actively be targeting FDI through face to face meetings and industry events and will facilitate visits to the region to enable investors to see the opportunity first hand.
An early outcome of the HPO programme sees Torbay hosting a visit from a US company in early August at the Electronics & Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) at Whiterock, Paignton. The company specialises in high power horticultural LED lighting to increase growth yields; as well as the photonics & microelectronics expertise in the region the company is also excited by the agritech capabilities that the Heart of the South West can offer. They will also meet leading University academics and a PCB manufacturer as part of their wider visit.
Later in the summer the Vice Consul from the British Consulate in San Francisco will travel to Torbay where he will visit EPIC, the South Devon College Hi tech & Digital Skills centre and meet photonics companies to see their capabilities first hand.
Jason Buck, Investment Development Manager, TDA and member of the HotSW Investment team said: “It has been fantastic working with Department for International Trade to surface this clear offer to foreign owned companies.
“Our compelling case that makes our area the right choice for businesses in this sector – location, supply chain, skills and research, cost and industry networks – has been recognised and will be promoted internationally through the DIT’s High Potential Opportunity programme.
“Resilience and reliability of connected sensors and systems are barriers for the effective development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. The global industry needs these solutions and they can be found here in the Heart of the South West.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, Steve Hindley, CBE DL said: “The Heart of the South West is making good progress on its Local Industrial Strategy to focus on the really valuable economic sectors that this area has to offer, such as Photonics & Microelectronics.
“We’re the only LEP in the country to have been selected this special designation. “We’re pleased that DIT have recognised our strengths in Photonics & Microelectronics, showing that our area has genuinely world-class opportunities for businesses from overseas to invest and expand here.”
DIT said: ““The Department for International Trade in collaboration with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership will deliver growth and ensure that the benefits of global investment support the creation of new jobs and drive prosperity into local communities across the South West.”
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