The Solent LEP has opened an invitation for businesses and other organisations to apply for funding from the new Solent Prosperity Fund. The LEP is seeking to accelerate large capital projects with the potential to transform the Solent economy through co-investment of between £500,000 and £14 million alongside local partners across the area.
The funding competition will support those projects with the greatest potential to deliver new homes, business growth and skills. The fund will also target investment in connecting communities and business, through improved digital and transport infrastructure. Projects that can start on site in 2018/19 or 2019/20 will be prioritised for investment.
Solent LEP chairman Gay Jeffries said: “We have made huge progress through the Solent Growth Deal and are already seeing investments creating jobs, supporting businesses and encouraging growth across the Solent area. We are delighted to be able to call for the next wave of projects which will enable the LEP to continue to drive forward growth in our economy and hope to develop a strong pipeline of future investments that can be brought forward through either our existing Growth Deal or future settlement from the Governments UK Shared Prosperity Fund to help unlock the word-class potential of the Solent area.”
Solent LEP chief executive Anne-Marie Mountifield said: “We have already invested more than £120m in Solent Growth Deal funding, creating new jobs, infrastructure, connectivity and housing. All sectors of the economy benefit from our unprecedented levels of investment in major, transformational projects. Now, with the Solent Prosperity Fund, there is even more scope to partner on ways to shape economic growth. If you are involved in a major economic project in the Solent, come and talk to us.”
Previous investments supported by the Solent LEP through the Growth Deal include the UK’s first dedicated Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, leading innovation in the field of immunology research; England’s first dedicated testing service for unmanned marine systems in Portsmouth, lowering the cost of market entry for SMEs in this future-facing sector; the Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine on the Isle of Wight, already providing specialised training for 600 students and apprentices annually; and a £30m infrastructure investment to improve access to the Fareham and Gosport Peninsular.