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We are one of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) in England established in 2011 to drive economic growth in Gloucestershire. In partnership with the business community and the public and voluntary sectors, GFirst LEP developed a vision for growing Gloucestershire that by 2022, the county will have ‘world class companies, a diverse business portfolio and a reputation for starting and growing great businesses’.

Find out more about our vision by clicking the Strategic Economic Plan section on the right.

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Our Vision

Gloucestershire is open for business

The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Gloucestershire was submitted to Government in March 2014. On 7th July 2014, we were delighted to learn that we've secured everything we've asked for from Government - find out more in the next section.

The SEP outlines how we will grow the economy by 2022 to drive growth of 4.8% GVA per annum, averaged over the period of the plan. We will do as much as we can to support businesses and develop skills in high growth sectors, including helping start-ups to grow; as well as maximise the connections and opportunities of the motorway corridor.

To achieve our growth potential, we are proposing a Growth Zone, a Growth Hub and a centre of excellence in renewable energy, engineering & nuclear skills. These interventions form the core of our plan. They are essential if we are to exploit our opportunities and tackle past weaknesses. 

Download the Strategic Economic Plan & appendices below.

Back Row (l-r)Richard O'Doherty, Katie Jenkins, Laura Crabb, Mark Hawthorne, Adam Starkey, David Owen, Mally Findlater. Front: Nick Clegg, Dr Diane Savory OBE

GFirst LEP have secured further funding for Gloucestershire as part of the recent Gloucestershire Growth Deal; an additional £15 million, adding to the £62.5 million confirmed in July 2014, that is being invested into the county. This announcement was confirmed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), seeing 6 projects in the county receive the extra investment from government. This latest funding will see up to 6000 jobs being created or safeguarded, up to 400 new homes built, as well as the potential to generate up to £220million in public and private investment within Gloucestershire.

Key features of the expanded deal include:

  • Promoting the growth of Gloucestershire Airport by improving key infrastructure at the site. Allocated £550,000.
  • Investment in the regeneration of the Blackfriars and Quayside areas in Gloucester City Centre for domestic and commercial use.  Allocated £4.13 million.
  • Support for fledgling agri-tech businesses – high tech incubation facilities to support start-ups and promote innovation at the Royal Agricultural University. Allocated £2.92 million.
  • Support for retail entrepreneurship – provision of high street incubation space in Gloucestershire. Allocated £400k.
  • Further additions to the planned Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear skills centre at Berkeley:
  • A new Cyber Security Training and Conference Centre to build Gloucestershire’s skills base in this fast-growing sector. Allocated £3 million.
  • An Advanced Renewable Energy Resource Centre delivering STEM skills development, experimental research and specialist business and domestic market support in renewables. Allocated £4 million.

You can read more about the expanded deal here.

Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg visited GFirst LEP on Friday 9th January to formally sign the Growth Deal for Gloucestershire; an agreement with the Government which will see £62.5 million invested in Gloucestershire.

Mr Clegg met with Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair of GFirst LEP, alongside Chief Executive David Owen and Board Members, Adam Starkey and Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council.

Click here to download a full summary of the Gloucestershire Growth Deal (PDF, 238kb)

Tasked by Government with creating an ambitious business plan for economic growth for Gloucestershire, the Government has confirmed its investment of £62.5 million in Gloucestershire. £23.6million has been confirmed in the first year, and as part of the Government’s on-going commitment to GFirst LEP it has provided an indicative award of a further £38.9million of funding from 2016/17 onwards. The Growth Deal will help to create up to 5000 jobs and generate up to £40 million in public and private investment. This deal is part of a wider Strategic Economic Plan that will lead to 34,000 jobs.

This has all been made possible by GFirst LEP working in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors to present the best possible case for investment in the county. 

The result is an overwhelming endorsement from Government that will see the Gloucestershire Growth Deal deliver Growth Hub services in physical locations across the county, kick start the GREEN project at the Berkeley site, further develop the Growth Zone on the M5 corridor, and deliver some key transport projects across Gloucestershire.

1. The Growth Hub is a unique partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and GFirst LEP to enable businesses to achieve their true growth potential. The Growth Deal will ensure physical spokes for business access to support services are in place across the county, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) centres deliver quality provision across Gloucestershire, and the funding is in place for the next phase of physical development of the Growth Hub central facility.

2. The Gloucestershire centre of excellence in Renewable Energy, Engineering & Nuclear skills (GREEN) is a partnership between GFirst LEP and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. GREEN will be a world-class centre of excellence for STEM training, providing workforce development training and apprenticeship opportunities based at the decommissioned Berkeley power station site.

3. The Growth Zone will further develop the availability of employment land along the M5 corridor in order to attract and retain high value-added businesses by providing valuable space and the necessary transport infrastructure for business expansion. Initial focus will be on development at junction 9 and junction 10 of the M5 and in particular the opportunity provided by the Ashchurch site near Tewkesbury.

In addition Government have confirmed new investment in major infrastructure schemes across Gloucestershire:

• £4.36 million will improve the A419 corridor between Stonehouse and the M5

• £1.15 million will improve access to the Berkeley site for the GREEN project

• £4.7 million will ensure that the re-development of the Kings Quarter bus station in Gloucester happens

• £1 million will develop a robust transport strategy for Lydney


And Government were so impressed by the business plan that they have provisionally allocated funding to an additional five schemes:

• £1.99 million provisional allocation to repair the Berkeley bridges, reducing travel times on the A38

• £3.8 million provisional allocation to fund the Cinderford Northern Quarter Link Road

• £2 million provisional allocation to upgrade the Gloucester South West bypass

• £1 million provisional allocation to upgrade St Barnabas Roundabout in Gloucester

• £1.6 million provisional allocation to upgrade the B4063 Staverton Bridge junction

The Gloucestershire Growth Deal also ensures that the Highways Agency is committed to working with Gloucestershire County Council to develop a compelling business case to secure funding to address the A417 Missing Link.

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Made possible thanks to £7million of funding including Government support, The Growth Hub is a unique partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and GFirst LEP created to enable businesses in Gloucestershire to maximise their true growth potential.

Taking shape with the development of key business support services, partners and an online portal, the Growth Hub will act as a single point of contact for over 26,000 businesses and new start-ups across the county. Open to all businesses across Gloucestershire, The Growth Hub will provide a range of innovative and tailored services to boost the development of companies that have high-growth potential. It will also fast track entrepreneurial start-ups and increase exports.

The starting point at The Growth Hub, and its most important service, is a free and expert business diagnosis. A dedicated team of business advisors will be able to identify high growth potential businesses for specific targeted support, and help businesses to access existing services provided locally and nationally.

Launched in October 2014, The Growth Hub is based at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls Campus in Gloucester, with plans to set up a county-wide presence using existing partnership facilities. It is also be the new home for GFirst LEP to work alongside the University of Gloucestershire’s Business Development Unit, to ensure we can provide a joined-up approach, as the 'go to place' for business support services. Click here for The Growth Hub website, watch our 'Did You Know' video here or download more information about the Growth Hub.

Below is our EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy which was submitted at the end of January 2014 to Government. The Strategy forms the European Funding part of our economic plans for Gloucestershire and will contribute approx. €41 million to enhance the economy and environment of Gloucestershire between 2014 and 2020.

Our strategy for Gloucestershire fits closely with the three National Operational Programmes;

New ESIF calls for local businesses now open

GFirst LEP and the Gloucestershire European Structure and Investment Funds (ESIF) committee have launched calls for:

·         Research and Innovation

·         Low carbon

·         Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises:

o   Entrepreneur and Start-up Business Support

o   Coaching for High Growth Potential

o   Core Growth Hub services and activities

The calls form part of the EU investment plans for the county that will run through to 2020. The calls are for outline applications which will be assessed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and those successful at this stage will be invited to develop full applications. More information can be found below.

Research and Innovation 
This call is looking to promote business investment in research and innovation and to support technological and applied research. Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire LEP area. Up to £1,4000,000 is available, and a minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for. Application deadline: 27th May 2016.

For more information click here.

Low Carbon
This call is looking  to support the shift to low carbon economy in all sectors and specifically promote energy efficiency and renewable energy use in enterprises and research and innovation in, and adoption of, low-carbon technologies. Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire LEP area. Up to £3,300,000 is available through this call. A minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for. Application deadline: 27th May 2016.

For more information click here.

Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises – Entrepreneur and Start-up Business Support

This call is looking to enhance the competitveness of small and medium sized enterprises in Gloucestershire specifically though the provision of entrepreneur and start-up business support. Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership area. Up to £600,000 is available through this call. A minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for. Outline application deadline: 27 May 2016

For more information click here.

Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership area.
Up to £500,000 is available through this call. A minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for.
Outline application deadline: 27 May 2016

Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises – Coaching for high growth potential

This call is looking to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises in Gloucestershire specifically though the provision of coaching for high growth potential enterprises. Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership area. Up to £500,000 is available through this call. A minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for. Outline application deadline: 27 May 2016

For more information click here.

Enhancing the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises – Core Growth Hub services and activities

This call is looking to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises in Gloucestershire specifically though the provision of Core Growth Hub services and activities.Projects put forward under this call must cover all of the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership area. Up to £1,700,000 is available through this call. A minimum value of £500,000 of funding can be applied for. Outline application deadline: 27 May 2016.

For more information click here.

Information and Communications Technology funding

This call is focusing on extending broadband deployment and the roll-out of high-speed networks and supporting the adoption of emerging technologies and networks for the digital economy - Now closed.

Environment and Resource Efficiency 
This call is looking to protect and restore biodiversity and soil and promote ecosystem services - Now closed.

Download the document below: