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Solent LEP's Growth Hub helps local businesses through challenging times

04 August 2021

New figures reveal how the Solent LEP's Growth Hub has been the first port of call for thousands of businesses in the Solent as they navigated through the pandemic and new trading arrangements with the EU.

The Solent LEP's Growth Hub is a team of local experts providing advice, connecting businesses to the right help, and providing information on funding opportunities.

Figures for 2020/21 show that the number of new businesses receiving support during this time more than doubled to 2,309, with a further 307 receiving bespoke one-to-one support.

Additionally, the Solent LEP targeted significant funding towards Solent businesses throughout the pandemic including:
• £2.75m in loan funding to businesses in the Visitor Economy
• Over £470,000 grant funding to 70 businesses through the LEP's rural funds
• £375,000 to 155 businesses from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) SME Restart & Recovery and Kickstarting Tourism funds
• £230,000 invested in 97 businesses as part of the LEP's Crowdfunder programme

As well as traditional business support, the Growth Hub team quickly recognised how the pandemic would impact different businesses and individuals in different ways; and consequently launched a range of new initiatives, including:

  • Start Up Launchpad (12 hours of one to one coaching and mentoring for ambitious start-ups);
  • a Business Owners' wellbeing support service providing physical and mental health advice, in partnership with the FSB;
  • and a service supporting people facing redundancy, in partnership with the National Careers Service

SJ Hunt, Deputy Chair of the LEP and Chair of the Solent LEP's Business Task Force: said: "The past year has been one like no other and the huge increase in the numbers of businesses who have turned to our Growth Hub for support is testimony to this. Our highly committed, experienced team has been invaluable to local businesses, making sure they have had the right help, advice and grant funding to help them through."

We created three fun animations to highlight some of exciting achievements:

First film

Second film

Third film 


The Solent LEP Growth Hub is part of a network of Growth Hubs which work across the country with local and national, public and private sector partners – such as Chambers of Commerce, FSB, universities, Enterprise Zones and banks, coordinating local business support and connecting businesses to the right help for their needs. They are locally driven, locally owned and at the heart of the government’s plan to ensure business support is simpler, more joined up and easier to access.

The Government has made announcements about financial support to help businesses with the impact of the Omicron variant

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