Our Priorities / Our Vision / Projects / Education Team / Skills

We are one of 38 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

The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Gloucestershire is an ambitious business plan, outlining 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, the SEP proposes a Growth Zone, a Growth Hub and a centre of excellence in renewable energy, engineering & nuclear skills. Download the Strategic Economic Plan & appendices, or watch our video to hear more about the aims of the Strategic Economic Plan from our Chief Executive, David Owen.

The SEP was submitted to Government in March 2014 to request Growth Deal funding. In July 2014, we were delighted to learn that we had secured the full £62.5 million of Growth Deal funding we asked for from Government; followed by an additional £15 million in January 2015, and £29.13 million in February 2017; all 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.

Click here for details of the projects and their progress.


GFirst LEP has secured two amounts of funding for Gloucestershire as part of the Growth Deal; 
£62.5 million confirmed in July 2014, which 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.
£15 million in January 2015, which 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 £220 million in public and private investment within Gloucestershire.
A bid for further funding was submitted in July 2016.
Click here to download a full summary of the Gloucestershire Growth Deal (PDF, 238kb) http://gfirstlep.com/doc_get.aspx?DocID=269 
The £62.5 million allocated in July 2014 includes:
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.
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.
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 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 the re-development of the Kings Quarter bus station in Gloucester 
• £1 million will develop a robust transport strategy for Lydney
• £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.
The £15 million allocation in January 2015 includes:
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. http://gfirstlep.com/News/Gloucestershire-Growth-Deal-secures-a-further-15-million-pounds/ 
GFirst LEP has secured two amounts of funding for Gloucestershire as part of the Growth Deal; 

The Gloucestershire Growth Deal comprises of:

£29.13 million confirmed in February 2017 for:

Longford Housing - £4.53 million

Cheltenham Cyber Park - £22 million

Gloucestershire College Forest of Dean Campus - £2.6 million

Read more about our Growth Deal 3 allocation here.

£62.5 million confirmed in July 2014, which 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.

£15 million confirmed in January 2015, which 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 £220 million in public and private investment within Gloucestershire.

 

The £62.5 million allocated in July 2014 includes:

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 access to business 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.

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.

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 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 the re-development of the Kings Quarter bus station in Gloucester 

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

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

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

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

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

• £1.6 million 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.

Click here to download a full summary of the Gloucestershire Growth Deal.

The £15 million allocation in January 2015 includes:

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.

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.

Download the ESIF Strategy:

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

Open calls:

 

Latest EAFRD funding opportunities - RDPE Growth Programme Calls for Tourism Infrastructure 

RDPE Growth Programme Calls for Tourism Infrastructure are now live here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme. Please note that the only priority area that applies to Gloucestershire as part of the wider programme is the Rural Tourism Infrastructure aspect.  Further details can be found in the Defra Handbook.

Please also note that the link to the Forest of Dean Destination Management Plan link has been amended and the plan can now be found here.

These grants are for capital investments that will help grow and develop tourism in rural areas. The aim is for visitors to spend more time and money in the rural parts of the GFirst LEP area.

Priority will be given to projects that:

• create new or develop existing attractions particularly

 outdoor activities

 arts and crafts,

 local history and heritage

 local food and drink tourism and enhancement of and

• extend the tourism season for both the application business and the wider destination particularly for the tourism sectors shown in the priority above

• create infrastructure to develop outdoor activities particularly walking and cycling for both the Forest of Dean and Cotswold areas

• create at least one new full time equivalent skilled job in the applicant business

• develop the film and TV tourism offer in both the Forest of Dean and Cotswold areas

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Handbook (which contains details for the Gloucestershire area - see page 43) and the Expression of Interest Form & guidance on completion can be found here. Applicants should deal directly with the Rural Payments Agency


 

Latest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) opportunities


Digital Tech Call

This call provides a funding opportunity of £500k of ERDF resource (matched at 50% so the total value is £1m), to develop business support activities encouraging SMEs to enhance their performance via digital technological or cyber advances. This call seeks proposals for the delivery of high quality bespoke business support to increase the understanding and application of digital technologies to improve performance and growth.

Find out how to apply here.

Export Call

This call provides a funding opportunity of approximately £500k of ERDF resource (matched at 50% so the total value is £1m). It is predominantly seeking to invest European Regional Development funds in activities to boost exports of high Growth Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs), including those working within intensive manufacturing services, enabling businesses to grow their capacity and capability for export sustainability. 

Find out how to apply here.

Low Carbon Innovation Call

This call provides a funding opportunity of approximately £1m of ERDF resource (matched at 50% so the total value is £2m). It is seeking ERDF in activities which capitalise on the county’s location and current innovation. The activities will need to deliver one or more of the following:

- stronger links between innovation-strong research or higher education institutions and Gloucestershire businesses

- business-to-business, low carbon/environmental goods and service specific innovation networks

- improved and/or new renewable and low carbon technologies and/or environmental goods and services

- specific research, development and implementation of innovative solar, wind or tidal energy technology

- support for businesses to develop new low carbon technologies/environmental goods and services, including access to facilities to trial and test new products

- development of the supply chain and local market

Find out how to apply here.