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Business Support



The Solent’s business base is diverse; from the presence of large multi-nationals to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Enterprise is a key driver of productivity and economic growth and we believe that SMEs hold the key to private sector-led growth in the Solent.

It is essential to broaden our business base, foster start-ups and support SME growth. We are also committed to safeguarding SMEs within supply chains, helping them to diversify, to reduce their dependency on the public sector and to strengthen their international trade links.

Solent LEP Growth Hub

Our business support service is delivered by our Business Advisors within our Solent LEP Growth Hub. In addition to providing finance options, through our Growth Hub, the Solent LEP provides a free one-stop-shop service for businesses, signposting and simplifying access to a range of business information, loans, grants, advice and support. Further information on the Solent LEP Growth Hub is available here

Business Support Programme

To do this the Solent LEP has established an extensive Business Support programme, through which we have provided grants to help entrepreneurs start up a business, support the growth aspirations of established SMEs and assist supply chains impacted by wider economic events to diversify and safeguard jobs. As a result of our work to date, the LEP has been able to invest over £10m of funding to more than 300 Solent businesses which has resulted in the direct creation of over 70 new businesses, creation and safeguarding of more than 1,500 jobs in the local economy and unlocked a further £37m private sector investment. The programme continues to support SMEs in the area with a renewed focus on those businesses with high-growth potential that will increase the Solent's productivity and the LEP has entered into a range of strategic partnerships to provide targeted business funding. 

A full list of funding support available through the Solent LEP is available here.


SME Ambassador

Solent LEP Director Brian Johnson has been appointed by the Board as our SME ambassador. Brian is keen to hear directly from individuals running SMEs in the Solent area on opportunities and challenges and will be working to ensure a strong SME perspective is secured as the LEP develops its economic strategy for the area. If any SMEs have views they could share with the LEP, please email Brian at: brian.johnson@solentlep.org.uk 

Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel

Our Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel also plays an important strategic role with oversight of the range of innovation and business support activities underway at the Solent LEP and with partner organisations and leads the innovation and business support priority for Solent LEP, working with other partners to collaborate on joint strategy and policy development for enterprise and business. The Panel also has the lead role in taking forward the Solent LEP's work on innovation and business engagement: ensuring a two-way dialogue with local business to ensure they are informed of the work of the LEP and opportunities to get involved, as well as ensuring the LEP can receive strong input from the local innovation and business community on issues of strategic importance.

Further information on the Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel is available here.

Solent Partners

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