05 Jul 2014

The Growth Hub gets 10m Government investment boost

The Government announced today that it will invest £10million in The Growth Hub for Gloucestershire.  The Hub is a unique partnership between GFirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire, working together to provide business support services for the county.

The announcement was made by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, during a visit to the University’s Oxstalls campus.  The Minister toured the facilities where the Growth Hub will open in October, and met members of the LEP Board.

The announcement is part of a £62.5m investment in the county – £23.6million has been confirmed for the first year, and as part of the Government’s on-going commitment to the GFirst LEP it has provided an indicative award of a further £38.9million of funding from 2016/17 onwards. The investment is designed to create 34,000 new jobs, over 5,000 apprenticeships, fuel significant business expansion and generate up to £80million in public and private investment.

The three major initiatives are: the Growth Hub, GREEN (the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear project) and the Growth Zone. 

University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston said: “Today’s announcement is a great endorsement from the Government for the partnership between the University and GFirst LEP to drive innovation and growth in our county.

“The University is committed to supporting business success and economic development in our area. We have formed a strong partnership with GFirst LEP, based on a shared ambition to make Gloucestershire a great place to set up and grow high-value, knowledge-intensive businesses. The Growth Hub is at the heart of that ambition. It is an innovative way to bring together the complementary expertise and resources of the University and the LEP, to provide an integrated range of services for business.

“The University of Gloucestershire is proud to be leading the way in showing how a University can work with partners to drive growth in its community.  The significance of the Growth Hub has already been recognized by the Higher Education Funding Council, who are investing £2.7m in the project.  By co-locating our Business Development team with the staff of GFirst LEP and our Business School activities on the University’s campus, we can create a fantastic resource for SMEs and other businesses wanting help to develop, innovate and grow.  That will be good for our economy.  And it will be good for the students and staff of our Business School, gaining direct experience of working with businesses.  We are delighted that the Government is backing this ambitious venture. ” 

Laura Crabb, Director of Business Development at the University of Gloucestershire, explains: “This further investment is a big boost to our plans. It means The Growth Hub can provide more services, more quickly; whilst putting in place an infrastructure throughout the county to make it even easier for businesses to access support and advice.

“The funding will specifically mean we can set up five ‘spoke’ locations across the county. These will essentially be mini versions of the main centre at Oxstalls which opens in the Autumn – a place to meet and network, host start-up businesses and receive professional advice and support.

“We’ll also be putting the money into services for start-up businesses to develop the skills they need to get their growth plans off the ground.”

About the Growth Hub

The Growth Hub is a pioneering partnership between GFirst LEP (the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire) and the University of Gloucestershire. The Growth Hub will provide a range of innovative and tailored business services designed to boost the development of companies with high growth potential, increase exports, and fast-track entrepreneurial start-ups. It is aimed at helping ambitious business people to realise the growth potential of their companies by offering access to a range of practical services, from assessing growth options to unlocking finance or accessing experienced business mentors.

The plans have secured £2.7 million of funding support invested by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The University successfully applied for support from the HEFCE Catalyst Fund, which supports Universities to undertake strategic innovation.

The Growth Hub will be the place to go for businesses, offering a diverse range of co-ordinated services. It will provide a tailored business service for those companies and start-ups with a potential for high growth. The Growth Hub will provide a free diagnosis of what a business needs to build an understanding of a company’s specific goals, drivers and requirements and working with the business to formulate a tailored package of support.

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About further funding

  • GREEN (Gloucestershire Centre of Excellence in Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear Skills) – redevelopment of Berkeley power station to provide a STEM training centre. 
  • Growth Zone – ensuring the availability of employment land around the M5 corridor.   
  • Enablers for Growth – transport projects that will accelerate economic growth across the County:
  • A419 Corridor Improvements
  • Improved access to Berkeley
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 1 - Kings Quarter Bus Station
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 1 - Lydney Transport Strategy

Central Government has agreed provisional allocations to the following projects starting in 16/17 and beyond:

  • Enablers for Growth – transport projects that will accelerate economic growth across the County:
  • A38 Berkeley Bridges
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 1 - Cinderford Northern Quarter Link Road
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 2 - Gloucester South West By-Pass
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 2 - St Barnabas Roundabout Scheme
  • A40 Regeneration Areas - Package 2 - A4063 Staverton Bridge Junction