During a tour around the Hub, Mr Clark had the opportunity to hear how the Gfirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire had worked together to create the Hub as a national first, integrating the economic development and business support activities of both organisations to provide a seamless service for business in the county. The Minister also discussed how the Government’s investment in the Gloucestershire Growth Deal is being used to grow Gloucestershire’s economy through exciting projects that will help to create up to 5,000 jobs and generate up to £40 million in public and private investment for Gloucestershire.
After visiting Blackfriars in the morning, Mr Clark met with David Owen (Chief Executive of GFirst LEP), Stephen Marston (Vice-Chancellor of the University), Neill Ricketts (Chief Executive of Versarien and GFirst LEP Board Member), together with members of the Growth Hub and GFirst LEP staff. He discussed how the Gloucestershire Growth Deal will boost business success and innovation in the county through the key projects proposed in the Growth Deal. Those are the Growth Hub, the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear (GREEN) project at Berkeley, and key transport projects including the M5 corridor.
Greg Clark’s visit comes hot on the heels of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg formally signing the Growth Deal for Gloucestershire this month. The Deal will see £62.5 million invested in the county.
Greg Clark, Minister of Universities, Sciences and Cities, said: “It is great to visit The Growth Hub which benefited from £12.1 million from the recent Gloucestershire Growth Deal, and see first-hand how this innovative centre is driving growth across the region. The Growth Deal that was signed for Gloucestershire will create at least 5000 local jobs, drive growth and improve infrastructure in the region.
By passing powers from Whitehall back to the people of Gloucestershire, we are ensuring that local growth is driven by the people who know the region best.”
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, added: “It was great to welcome Greg Clark to the county today. We were able to demonstrate the amazing work that has already been achieved with the Growth Deal funding, whilst touring The Growth Hub, and discussing other exciting projects. We can really see the confidence that Government has in us to grow Gloucestershire’s economy, and after receiving the full amount of funding requested, £62.5 million, we can carry on growing county, whilst continuing the to work closely with our partners on future opportunities.”
Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: “The strength of the partnership between the University and GFirst LEP is what makes the Growth Hub unique. The type of growth we want to promote in Gloucestershire is high-skill, knowledge-intensive, and high-value added. That means the University has a critical role to play in working with the LEP and businesses to identify businesses with high growth potential and support them to achieve that potential. The Hub will also help to bring business into the classroom, integrating the work of Business School with the Growth Hub so that all of our programmes are distinctive for intensive business engagement that builds student employability. We’re really pleased to have been able to demonstrate this to Mr Clark today”.
The visit follows the signing of the Gloucestershire Growth Deal on 9th January by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, which was part of a £12 billion long-term Government programme to revitalise local economies. As part of the Government’s on-going commitment to LEPs, it was confirmed in the Autumn Statement that there will be further funding from 2016/17 onwards.
For more information about GFirst LEP and the Growth Deal, please visit www.GFirstLEP.com.