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LEP performance creates advantage for Solent Gateway

07 March 2018

As the Solent LEP publishes its Annual Report, there is cause for great celebration. It was confirmed that the region’s LEP has notched up major successes through its strategic investment in the marine and maritime sector as well as in skills and infrastructure. These projects have been game-changing and are making the Solent one of the most dynamic places to do business.

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of the Solent LEP said:

This year we have invested over £51m in key projects within the Solent region that will drive economic growth and create skilled jobs that everyone living in the region can benefit from. There is so much potential in the Solent region with three universities, world-class ports and our position as a gateway to the world. The strategic investments we have made in key sectors like the marine and maritime sector, critical transport infrastructure, business support and skills build on our economic strength and will create a lasting benefit for everyone living and working in the Solent region.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent LEP added:

This year represents a landmark in our journey with partners to develop skills, create jobs, improve connectivity and grow prosperity. We have exceeded the £120m investment threshold and key achievements include reaching a milestone £10m LEP investment in dedicated support for Small and Medium-sized businesses, £4.5m for the development of the UK’s first dedicated research centre for cancer immunology, £7.7m for new homes and £9m for a new advanced technology centre.

The Solent region has seen the most dramatic rise in high-growth firms (HGF) since 2008 and has increased the number of HGFs by 64 per cent which is twice the national average. An example of a HGF assisted by the LEP is ‘Book My Garage’ who received a £50,000 grant from the LEP. ‘Book My Garage’ is the UK’s only unbiased car servicing comparison website, and has been ranked 35th in the top 100 of Britain’s Fastest-Growing Businesses by online equity investment platform, SyndicateRoom.

Douglas Rotberg, CEO and Founder of Book My Garage added:

The investment that the Solent LEP made to our businesses has helped to scale the business quickly and keep up with demand. ‘Book My Garage’ has gone from strength to strength and we have never looked back. Customer like the transparency offered to them over BookMyGarage.com which is why we have already helped almost one million customers find car service and repair pricing, and be able to book when it is convenient for them.

A key component of the Solent region’s economic strength are the three leading universities that fall within the boundary, undertaking pioneering research and acting as centres for innovation. Recently, a joint study was commissioned by Solent LEP to quantify the economic benefits that the three universities generate for the Solent economy and UK PLC.

The study found that combined, the three universities contribute £4.2bn GVA to the UK economy and add £2.1bn GVA to the Solent economy. The universities generate a return of £6 for the UK economy for every £1 that they earn and over 33,000 jobs are directly supported by all of the institutions.

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth said:

Universities must demonstrate why we matter to our regions – and this is precisely what this study does. Not only are we engaged in world-leading research and in producing over 12,000 highly-skilled graduates each year – nearly 1 in 2 of which are STEM graduates – we also inject vital economic benefits to our region. The universities are vital contributors to the Solent and I am delighted that we play such a positive role.

A copy of the Solent LEP Annual Report is available here.

A copy of the Economic Impact of the Solent Area Universities is available here.