How does the LEP help Dorset to grow?

Published on Thursday 15 October, 2015 by Anushka Naidoo

Welcome to the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) blog. Our blogs give both the LEP Core team and the LEP Board a chance to further inform you of our objectives and how we meet them. With key projects taking off over the next few months – many of you have questions about who we are, what we do and how we do it. With this in mind we have created a short breakdown which will hopefully answer those questions and dispel some myths about the role of your LEP in your local area. 

Who is the LEP and what do you do?

Dorset LEP is one of 39 LEPs across the country. The LEP is a collaboration of public, private and third sector representatives that work together in partnership to strategically support, enable and invest in long term economic prosperity for our local area.

How do you work?

Dorset LEP comprises of a voluntary Board, with representatives from all sectors. We also have a Core Executive team that work with the Chairman and LEP Board to implement Board decisions and facilitate the LEP’s work. Partnership is a key element to how we operate. You can meet our Board here.

How do you get Growth Deal funding Dorset then?

In March of last year, LEPs across the country were tasked with submitting a document to Government that outlined our strategic priorities for long term economic growth in our local areas. This document was known as the Strategic Economic Plan or “SEP” Alongside the SEP, LEPs were asked to bid for Growth Deal funding for projects. Projects that were originally set out the Dorset SEP are grouped into four key strategic themes.

They are:

  • Talented Dorset – Skills for the workforce
  • Competitive Dorset – Business support and growth
  • Connected Dorset – Transport, Digital and Physical infrastructure
  • Responsive Dorset –  Responding to a changing housing market  

You can find out more about our Strategic Economic Plan here. 

Why have you only funded some projects in Dorset and not others?

Projects which come forward are prioritised locally and are then put in to compete on a national level against Government criteria. This means there will be those that are unsuccessful of course, but the process is not stagnant. As Dorset grows and develops so do the opportunities. So we are prepared for any possible future funding rounds from Government, the LEP recently asked Dorset to submit expressions of interests in the form of outline business cases to capture the growing opportunities and changing environments in our local area.

Since you channel funding streams, can we come to you for business loans?

The LEP provides a revolving loan for capital expenditure known as the Growing Places Fund. The fund normally has a maximum loan term of five years and may be used by businesses which have viable projects, including security that can deliver economic growth - even if the business is unable to access alternative funding mechanisms. You can find out more on our Growing Places fund here.

We can also sign post you to initiatives that we fund, support or enable that are able to help your business grow. Among these initiatives is the Dorset Growth Hub. Considered a national exemplar, and funded by the Dorset LEP, the Dorset Growth Hub serves as a multidimensional business support platform. Find out more about the Dorset Growth Hub here.

What’s your role with EU funding?

Unlike with the Dorset Growth Deal, the LEP does not bid for EU money. Instead we help to set the strategic priorities of our area and work to help them align with the national objectives and in turn those of the EU. For more information take a look at our EU Funding page here or visit the Gov.UK website here.

If you have any more questions feel free to get in touch with the team here

We look forward to hearing from you! 

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