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Our journey to reshape the South West’s economic landscape

In the heart of our vibrant region, the impact of collective ambition and strategic investment is not just seen; it’s felt. I’m pleased to share with you a glimpse into the impact we’ve had across the Heart of the South West, as detailed in our latest impact report.

Since 2011, the Heart of the South West LEP has been at the forefront of driving economic growth. With over 7,000 jobs already created and more than £2.3 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) injected into our economy, our region is witnessing a renewal of industry and innovation particularly in emerging technologies and delivering net zero.

We’ve invested a total of £582 million across more than 100 projects, which has been a catalyst for change; targeting key areas such as competitive advantage, core infrastructure (digital, flood prevention and transport, innovation, business support, and skills. The results? A forecasted creation of over 20,700 jobs and £6.8 billion of GVA by March 2025.

But this report is more than a collection of numbers. It’s a testament to the South West’s potential. It’s proof of what can be achieved when we combine our strengths to focus on innovation and remain committed to clean, inclusive economic growth and directly engage the private sector in ashared endeavour.

As we look to the future, the report outlines key recommendations for continued investment and strategic focus, including ensuring a strong strategic context, setting challenging but achievable targets, and setting realistic expectations for change. It’s a blueprint for ensuring that our journey of transformation continues, with realistic targets to enhance our competitive edge, infrastructure, and skills alongside a genuine commitment to deliver lasting social value to increase social mobility and enhance environmental impact.

However, this transition is not just about economic indicators. It’s about the lives we’re improving, the communities we’re strengthening, and the future we’re building together. As we work with key stakeholders to transition LEP functions to upper-tier Local Authorities by April 2024, our mission and goals remain stronger than ever.

I’m proud of the impact the LEP has had on our local communities and businesses. We will continue working with Local Authorities and other key stakeholders to deliver a smooth transition over the coming weeks and ensure the LEP’s legacy continues.


Comprised of business leaders from across our key sectors, the LEP Board oversees the programme of infrastructure, business support and skills projects being delivered by 2025.

Find out more about our board >

LEP board meetings & documents >

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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.