Connectivity is a vital part of the Heart of the South West LEP’s ambitions to promote productivity and prosperity across the region. Find out about some of the projects we have been involved with across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay, connecting people and businesses with improved transport and digital connectivity, to support business growth, collaboration, inclusivity and innovation.

A382 widening Newton Abbot connectivity

Widening the A382 at
Newton Abbot

£6.7 million of Growth Deal funding was provided by LEP to expand the A382, reducing congestion, improving safety, and supporting up to 1,000 jobs and 1,200 houses.

Plymouth Eastern Corridor Cycle Network

£3.4 million of Growth Deal funding was provided by the LEP to create new cycling and walking paths, linking news jobs and housing to the city centre.

Smart Sound Connect

£1.8 million of Growth Deal funding was provided by the LEP to support the development of a 5G testbed, delivering world-leading advanced communications infrastructure for local and international businesses.

Exeter Bus Station

£800k of Growth Deal funding provided by the LEP to develop the new Exeter bus station, promoting green public transport in an around the city and improving connectivity for rural and urban areas.

2Zero Future Flight

The LEP are part of the South West Aerospace consortium, working to develop sustainable aircraft. In 2021 the group supported the first domestic hybrid electric flight.

CDS mobile boost scheme

CDS Mobile Boost Scheme

£1 million of Growth Deal funding provided by the LEP to support mobile coverage improvements for over 600 homes and businesses in Devon and Somerset.

Digital Devon

Digital Devon, run by the Heart of the South West Skills Launchpad, has helped over 600 people across Devon learn how to use technology effectively and safely.


The Heart of the South West Growth Hub have supported nearly 300 businesses with digital connectivity and digital skills through their free business support programme, Thrive.

Gravity link road

The LEP supported the Smart Campus's link road with £3.94m of Growth Deal funding, connecting the campus to the A39 and the wider UK motorway network.



The Digital Enablement for SMEs (DESME) project, run by the Heart of the South West Skills Launchpad, has helped 124 businesses access digital support and drive digital transformation.

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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.