Looking ahead to 2018, the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has announced it will continue to support “clean growth” across Swindon and Wiltshire with the launch of a £3.75m grant fund for low carbon projects as part of its EU funding programme.
The projects will look to “develop and introduce new low carbon energy products, services and technologies into the area.” SWLEP’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Technical Assistance team will hold an information session from 09:30 to 11:00 on 12 January 2018 at the Wiltshire Council’s Monkton Park offices in Chippenham.
Julian Head, the strategic economic programmes manager for SWLEP, said: “SWLEP is delighted to be able to launch a grant fund totaling £3.75m for low carbon projects. The fund includes up to £1m for projects that support smaller businesses to become more energy and resource efficient; and £2.75m for projects that bring forward innovations, deployments and demonstrations of low carbon technologies that improve sustainable energy provision and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the area.”
SWLEP has also commissioned work to develop its approaches to higher education and the “application of digital technologies,” with reports due by April 2018. Additionally, a new “science incubator and grow-on space” for science and technology businesses will open at Porton Science Park near Salisbury. The first phase of this project was made possible through an investment of £10.1m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and the ERDF and Wiltshire Council, and was secured by SWLEP.
Furthermore, SWLEP is continuing to invest in the development of its Growth Hub, the online community for businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire and the “go to” gateway for impartial business support and advice. The Growth Hub also provides access to events, programmes and funding opportunities for start-up businesses, mature businesses and “those looking to grow.”
According to SWLEP, businesses need appropriately skilled and competitive workforces to achieve their growth ambitions, and SWLEP claims that its Higher Futures team provide a free, “impartial” skills brokerage service and will be further developing the partnerships they have in place with colleges and Universities.
Finally, SWLEP will be rolling out a business-focused project, Better Business for All (BBfA). This Government initiative helps businesses “improve their competitiveness” and grow by working with local regulators to improve how regulatory services are delivered across Swindon and Wiltshire and save businesses time and money.