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at Show Me Success in Milton Keynes, and we launched our new Strategic Economic Plan, setting out ambitions to double the size of the South East Midlands’ economy. - Having worked within the LEP since 2011, in 2018 I was appointed Chief Executive and started work to merge SEMLEP’s two Growth Hubs to form a more connected business support off ering across the patch. - 2019 set out our strategic direction for the future. Peter Horrocks CBE was appointed Chair of SEMLEP, and we went on to publish our Energy Strategy, Local Industrial Strategy, Community Grants and Make the Connection area brochure. We joined MPs in the House of Commons to discuss our area’s unique capabilities and were named Exceptional in the Annual LEP Performance Review. To fi nish the year, we brought stakeholders together to discuss clean, green growth, pledging our commitment to sustainable developments. - Presenting both challenges and opportunities, 2020 forced us to adapt our thinking. After launching a new programme designed to help grow businesses, our Growth Hub team quickly adapted their operations to support businesses in navigating the pandemic. T e dedicated team worked weekends to provide additional support to business owners, helping them access government support and adapt their operations. Later in the year, we were awarded £27.3m through the Getting Building Fund. The capital investment funding


continues to help us support COVID-19 recovery across the area, alongside our Economic Recovery Strategy, published in December. -


In 2021, we continue our commitment to making the South East


Midlands a place where people want to live, work and visit. We’re supporting businesses to stabilise, recover and grow. We’re working with partners to establish the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and East West Rail, unlocking further growth opportunities. We’re supporting people to develop new skills, helping them to secure employment and progress. We’re delivering investment into our places to enable new facilities, create jobs and unlock further economic growth in the area.


Over my ten years at SEMLEP, I’ve met hundreds of people, worked


with a variety of partners and have grown the SEMLEP team to over 40 employees. From businesses working alongside schools to embed better


careers information to universities sharing business growth tips with SMEs in the area, I want to say thank you. I’m proud of our achievements to date and it’s clear that together,


we’re making a diff erence. As we celebrate our tenth birthday in true SEMLEP style, planting


10 trees, walking 10,000 steps, sharing 10 business top tips and more, I’m excited about the future. Our ambition is to build on the South East Midlands’ reputation as


a premier location for growth, innovation, creativity and world-leading technologies, which will result in a doubling of the area’s GVA by 2050. T rough our partnerships, connections and programmes, I believe


that ambition will soon become reality. We look forward to continuing to work together collaboratively to create that cleaner greener future.


For more information about the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) visit: www.semlep.com


ALL THINGS BUSINESS 57


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