Our thanks to Paul Witcombe for taking us through the objectives of the Local Enterprise Partnership ( LEP ) for 2014.
In summary the LEP receives funding from both the UK and Europe to invest in Business in Hertfordshire.
However that funding is limited and Hertfordshire suffers in two key respects when it comes to attracting support funding.
- Government funding is often structured around large cities, and we do not have any.
- As a commuter belt area for London, we are perceived as being well off, despite having some of the poorest areas in the UK within Hertfordshire.
In addition the picture is not improving. We are losing our business base which currently sits at 2% below the 2008 position. There are more people in work but we are paying less. In summary we have had static or negative growth over the past 6 years.
So what can we do about this? Well, the current funding stands at some £75 million from the UK and a further 69 million Euros from Europe. 50% to be spent on the skills agenda, and 50% on business support – Grants, Loans and subsidised advice programs.
So the question is how and where will this be spent?
It is a fact that 80% of businesses, turning over £50million and above, fail within 10 years. This is a staggering figure, and is caused by the very real difficulties in changing your business with changing times. The “Catch All” phrase is “Innovation”. At Welwyn and Hatfield Chamber we have joined the “Innovation Committee” on the LEP, and are looking to work with Business, the Council, the University and Oakland’s College to see how these monies can be best spent. We see our role as one of helping to deliver real success stories for real businesses, both large and small, thereby justifying further investment.
We will be discussing the following with local businesses over the coming months
- What skills do you need?
- How can the College and University best provide those skills? re New staff and training existing staff?
- How do we recognise businesses with real potential? It is not just about Turnover, Balance Sheet and Number of employees. It is also about being in the right sector at the right time, Gross Profit and the skills in your organisation.
- How can we help businesses to move in that direction?
- How do you get all your ducks lined up, pulling in the same direction, delivering a product that your customers want and are prepared to pay a premium for to buy it from you, because they believe that you share the same values that they do? All this and drive forward the customer expectation for ever better functionality and service.
- How do you communicate these values in a permission based multi-channel communications world?
- How does customer feedback drive internal change?
- How do we build excellence in Hertfordshire?
To find out more please visit our website on www.welhatchamber.co.uk and if you would like to discuss this further in person please book on our Events page and come along to our Bank of England Event on 27th February where the Bank will be discussing the future for Interest rates amongst a range of other useful measures for business planning.