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Inward Investment and International Trade



We need to raise our profile as a destination for inward investment and international trade and to increase the amount of investment entering the Solent. There is a strong relationship between inward investment, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic growth.

Larger inflows of both UK and foreign investments will be needed if the Solent is to achieve a sustainable high trajectory of economic growth. There are many conditions that have to be put in place to attract inward investment, not least of which is an attractive investment climate and there is much ground to be made up. 

There is an overwhelming desire and need to improve our inward investment and international trade performance – specifically we must:

  • Increase the number of new enquiries received.
  • Increase the number of new projects secured.
  • Increase the number and scale of resultant business expansion.

A key rationale for action to encourage trade and investment is that it both drives growth by increasing competition, and brings new ideas and ways of doing things to the UK.  We know that businesses which export show stronger employment growth and have higher wages than non-exporters.  Diversification across export markets also helps to increase business resilience and enable stronger growth to be achieved during periods in which economic conditions in the UK are challenging.  

However, currently there are too few UK businesses that take advantage of the opportunities presented by overseas markets, with less than 11% of businesses exporting, yet Exporting companies contribute 60% of the UK’s productivity growth - this situation is mirrored in the Solent, and the LEP, through interventions such as the Solent Growth Fund, is supporting businesses to export.

We have identified a strategy to achieve this build around 5 key pillars:

  • The development of a sustainable inward investment delivery vehicle for the Solent LEP area.
  • Effective co-ordination of inward investment activity across the Solent LEP area.
  • Carefully executed and targeted global promotion of the Solent LEP area.
  • Successful engagement of prospective investors in the Solent LEP area.
  • Retention, development and expansion of businesses located in the Solent LEP area.

For more information on our current work and future plans for inward investment and international trade, a copy of our Inward Investment Strategy is available here.


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