New innovation boost for the South West

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, and Heart of the South West LEP have signed a new joint agreement with Innovate UK to help boost innovation across the South West.

Innovate UK drives productivity and growth by supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success. Since 2007 it has committed over £1.8 billion to innovation, matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding.

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) available here, which was officially signed at today’s Innovate UK local event “Beyond the Business As Usual”, is the first to be signed by Innovate UK with a group of LEPs. It will enable closer collaboration between South West LEPs and Innovate UK to drive productivity through innovation amongst the business community.

The LEP Partnership and Innovate UK will support each other in activities that meet the aims and ambitions of the MoU including:

  • Developing initiatives and or pilots which encourage and promote participation of SMEs from across the LEP Partnership in Innovate UK activity. This may mean focusing on areas of emerging strength and aiming to increase the number of SMEs investing in R&D, developing new products and processes and accessing R&D support across the area.
  • Identifying priority areas in which the LEP Partnership wish to promote their strengths and influence future thinking.
  • The creation of a joint action plan setting out specific actions for all parties, enhancing coordination and information exchange

The Partnership’s Growth Hubs will function as a referral point for Innovate UK and will seek to increase traffic to Innovate UK with support from the Innovate UK business facing networks the Knowledge Transfer Network and the Enterprise Europe Network.

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP, said: “Part of our economic vision for Dorset is that its competitiveness will be driven by innovation. Our private and public sector organisations are already making great strides in this area and this new agreement with Innovate UK will help to leverage additional funding and support. We are very pleased to be part of this regional partnership and to play our part in boosting innovation not only in Dorset but across the South West. ”

Quote Chair Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP: “This joint agreement with our neighbouring LEPs and Innovate UK will be essential to showcase Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a competitive and cutting-edge region full of opportunities for investment to help drive our economic growth. The University of Exeter is delighted to be working across two LEPs in the South West to support the innovation and productivity agendas which are so vital to the South West and national economies. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP have recently launched our ‘Ten Opportunities’ prospectus[1], which sets our ‘21st Century’ pitch to Government and business for future investment. It showcases how technology is helping to drive new industries like space, e-health and marine energy, and can transform existing sectors like agriculture and mining.”

Quote Chair Heart of South West LEP: “We are very pleased to be part of this exciting new partnership with Innovate UK and our neighbouring LEPs. Our biggest goal is to drive up productivity; and boosting innovation has proved to be one of the most effective ways to help businesses become more efficient and profitable. We look forward to working with our partners in Dorset and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to bring greater prosperity across the region through the Back the South West initiative.”

Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK “There is a huge appetite from businesses across the South West to innovate and grow and we are delighted to be creating this focused partnership to further accelerate the economy across all three LEPs. We are particularly pleased to have with us for today’s inaugral meeting, three leading edge businesses, Langage Farms, Biovault and Seiche, to illustrate how Innovate UK programmes have successfully created opportunities beyond business as usual.”