The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced that the contract to manage and run the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub has been awarded to a partnership led by the BE Group. BE Group is a leading supplier of business support services who currently run the National Business Support Helpline and, through work with the Institute of Sustainability and organisation of the 2014 Meet the Buyer event for Farnborough International Airshow, work with over a thousand businesses in the Enterprise M3 area.
The partnership comprises BE Group as lead partner alongside Aerian (portal developer), Business South, SETsquared (the enterprise collaboration of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey universities who support high technology and innovative companies) and Hampshire & Surrey County Councils.
The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub will provide two offers for business to help them succeed and grow. Firstly, there will be a business and skills offer for all businesses provided through an Enterprise M3 portal and localised telephone support provided through the national business support helpline. This will direct businesses to the advice and support they need that is available from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors across the area. Secondly, expert support will be provided for businesses who demonstrate high innovation and high growth potential.
The partnership will engage with the wide array of business support and membership organisations and partners across the area, including membership bodies such as the Chambers of Commerce, FSB, IOD as well as trade associations and FE colleges, all of whom are working with business.
Enterprise M3 has secured funding from BIS for the establishment of the Growth Hub as part of its Local Growth Deal. The contract is initially worth £450,000 for each of two years. The Growth Hub will be operational by July 2015.
Geoff French, Chair of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, commented: “Enterprise M3 is extremely pleased to announce today the awarding of our Growth Hub contract to the BE Group and its partners. BE Group is a leading business services group in the UK and has a proven track record of successfully delivering both national and regional business support programmes, such as the Government’s National Business Support Helpline and the Growth Vouchers Programme. We believe that they, and our local partners, will create a Growth Hub for the Enterprise M3 area which will deliver the solutions-based business support that our businesses need in order to grow and prosper.”
On the appointment Jonathan Lamb, Executive Director of Business Development at BE Group, added: “BE Group and its partners are proud to be able to bring businesses in the Enterprise M3 area a Growth Hub that focuses private, public and not-for-profit sector collaboration on one objective – business growth. We believe our plans truly break the mould for supporting business growth and are confident businesses will really notice the difference.”
Background to the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub
The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub is a central mechanism for delivering the LEP’s vision of connecting businesses with the quality support they need to thrive and is key to supporting its focus on key major and emerging sectors.
The Growth Hub aims to contribute towards the achievement of some of the key Enterprise M3 strategic economic priority targets which are to:
In July 2014, it was announced that Enterprise M3 would receive funding as part of its Growth Deal from Government, to help develop the Growth Hub.
The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub contract was procured for the LEP by its Accountable Body, Hampshire County Council, using OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procurement procedures. The tenders were evaluated by an expert panel made up of a cross section of business people, including Mike Rushworth, former Managing Director of Vitacress and Andrew Lambert, Managing Director of Electronic Media Services (EMS) and other Enterprise M3 Board Members.