Solent businesses enjoy a slice of £130m boom over the past year, new figures show

THE past 12 months have been a huge economic success for the Solent region, according to new statistics.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 1:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 5:47 pm
Solent businesses have enjoyed £130m worth of investment over the past year, figures have revealed. Pictured is the former Daedalus site, which houses the Enterprise Zone.

Figures released by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) revealed that it has pumped more than £100m into businesses across the region, which are continuing to expand.

At the company's annual general meeting, it was announced that a total of £130m has been invested in projects in the Solent, including £13m invested in SME businesses, £40m invested in skills, £10m to support new ideas and strengthen innovation capability and £70m to support critical infrastructure.

Last year also saw the LEP achieve two national firsts with the opening of the Cancer Immunology Centre in Southampton, the UK’s first dedicated research facility for which the LEP provided £4.5m, and the National Maritime Autonomy Centre.

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New investments during 2018 included provision of nearly £7.5m in funding to help the Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering upgrade its estate and install new simulator training facilities, further strengthening the global maritime training credentials of the area.

Speaking at the AGM, enterprise adviser Sandeep Sesodia talked about the growth of the adviser network set up in 2018, and its impact on local entrepreneurs.

He said: 'The Solent is a national leader in the provision of careers advice to young people, and schools in the LEP area have this year achieved the highest average score in England across benchmarks designed to define what good, practical careers guidance should look like.'

It comes after more than 270 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) having now received grant funding.

This in turn is helping to create or protect more than 1,500 jobs.

Moving forward Solent LEP's business director, Brian Johnson, has launched a consultation asking business owners to help steer the LEP's future enterprise strategy.

He said: 'With involvement from all sectors of the Solent region, private business and the public sector, education, health, and local communities, this is an opportunity to set the area on a pathway to a more prosperous future for all.

'We are inviting everyone to join the conversation and take part in a new survey to share their views.'