The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, which helps determine the priorities of the local economy in support of job creation and driving economic growth for the area, has announced its plans for supporting businesses during the recovery period post the coronavirus pandemic.
Published in its annual Delivery Plan, the LEP sets out a range initiatives designed to support businesses mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including:
A designated Coronavirus Support Hub, providing information and links to support being offered; from grant funding opportunities to specialised advice for individuals, the self-employed, and all sized businesses: https://solentlep.org.uk/coronavirus-support-hub/
A Crowdfunding Programme offering grant funding to the self-employed, micro and small businesses. The Solent LEP are matching £1 for £1 up to a maximum of £5,000. For further information see: https://solentlep.org.uk/crowdfunding-programme-pay-it-forward/
The Isle of Wight Rural Business Resilience Fund, providing grants for up to £2,500 for capital expenditure related to developing alternative ways of working due to coronavirus: https://solentlep.org.uk/isle-of-wight-rural-business-resilience-fund/
In describing the current situation, Anne-Marie Mountifield, chief executive at the LEP, said: “Solent businesses are facing challenges on an unprecedented scale as they respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are under no illusion that, for many, the ability to rise to meet these challenges will be existential and the potential economic impact on our economy cannot be underestimated.
“As the outbreak continues to escalate, the Solent LEP is fully committed to helping our business communities in their efforts to meet these challenges head-on and are putting in place a range of support for Solent businesses to access.”
The LEP’s Delivery Plan also identifies a commitment to supporting businesses beyond the short-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and illustrates that they are preparing a recovery plan for the Solent economy through 2020 and beyond.
Brian Johnson, Solent LEP chair, said: “Whilst the current situation is extremely challenging, the Solent has a history of rising to such challenges. We have weathered storms in the past and we will navigate our way through this. Our economy has faced adversity before and on each occasion, through innovation and entrepreneurialism, our businesses have not only survived but have gone on to thrive and establish the area as a powerful £31 billion economy with a significance that extends far beyond our own boundaries.
“With this in mind, the Solent LEP is committed to supporting businesses beyond the short-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be preparing a recovery plan for our economy through 2020 and beyond.”
The LEP describes a number of schemes and initiatives that have already been put in place to do just that, including investment in major housing developments such as North Whiteley, bringing forward critical infrastructure to enhance connectivity, including Stubbington Bypass on the Gosport peninsular, and supporting innovation in key sectors for the economy, including the development of the Innovation and Collaboration Hub at QinetiQ’s National Maritime Systems Centre in Portsmouth.
A copy of the Solent LEP 2020/21 Delivery Plan is available now at: https://solentlep.org.uk/media/2999/solent-lep-delivery-plan-rev-april-2020-final.pdf