Coast to Capital Latest News - July 2020
Published: 23 Jul 2020
New Chair appointed
At our Board meeting earlier this month, we were delighted that Julie Kapsalis was appointed as Coast to Capital Chair. Julie has held the position of Vice Chair for the past year and has been on the Coast to Capital Board for over six years during which time she served as the Chair of the Investment Committee and Diversity Champion.
Julie is Managing Director of Chichester College Group with responsibility for a portfolio of commercial businesses. She is a board member of the Institute of Economic Development, Gatwick Diamond Business and is the immediate past Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We are looking forward to working with Julie in this capacity and will be sharing some of her ideas for the future in coming weeks.
Support for hundreds of businesses
Over the past three months, we have provided emergency guidance to businesses in our area through meaningful coaching and advice sessions. Our highly dedicated Growth Hub team, which has doubled in size since March, have responded to over 500 enquiries, each facing unique challenges.
We also worked closely alongside our Investment department to provide grants of £5,000 - £25,000 to 160 businesses totaling £1.9 million via our new Backing Business Grants fund. Despite the fund now being closed, an online Expression of Interest form is available to complete in the case that future funding becomes available.
Plus X project launched
An exciting new business growth and innovation programme called BRITE (Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange) launched this month to support ambitious businesses located across our region.
The programme is led by a dedicated team from Plus X Brighton, in partnership with the University of Brighton. BRITE will bring £10.5 million worth of support to SMEs, funded through the European Regional Development Fund and property regeneration specialists, U+I. In 2015, we contributed £7.7 million Local Growth Funding to unlock the wider economic and social regeneration at the Plus X Brighton site.
Careers Hub to transform careers education
35 schools and colleges from across the Crawley, Mid Sussex and East Surrey area will be included in our newly formed Careers Hub to accelerate levels of support and improvement in young people’s career development.
Schools and colleges within the Careers Hub will have access to:
- an expert ‘Hub Lead’ to help coordinate activity and build networks
- a central fund to support employer engagement activities
- training for a ‘Careers Leader’ in each school and college
Evidence published by The Careers & Enterprise Company in October last year showed Career Hubs accelerating overall careers education progress and performance by 56% in 12 months.
Plans progress for 'Safer Towns and Cities'
Councils across the area are working hard on their plans to reopen high streets and public spaces safely. This is fundamental for the recovery of the economy and revival of the retail leisure and visitor sector. This activity has been supported by a new £50 million fund launched by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.
The ‘Safer Town’ initiative provides a regular forum for Local Authorities to share best practice and help deliver a consistent approach to social distancing and hygiene standards across the area.
Business Recovery Insights survey
We are developing a recovery strategy to help kick-start the economy. To support this, we are looking to strengthen our understanding of the current economic landscape by launching the Business Recovery Insights Survey.
The survey aims to build a picture of the challenges and opportunities facing businesses based in the Coast to Capital area by identifying common themes across a range of sectors. This will also form the basis of potential future funding and business support decisions. The deadline to complete is Friday 24 July.
Economy Watch: The impact of COVID-19 on local economy
Last week, Strategy & Policy Programme Manager, Marsha Robert shared initial research findings in a blog post showing the impact of COVID-19 on the Coast to Capital economy.
The headline finding is that we estimate a GVA net loss of £9.8 billion (17%) between 2019 and 2020, which is higher than the national average (13%) and based on only ‘one lockdown’ scenario. Our high GVA loss is likely due to our dominant sectors being adversely affected by lockdown restrictions.
Annual Report published
This month we were pleased to publish our 2019/20 Annual Report. The report highlights some of the key achievements from across the business including our strategy, investments and services - all underpinned by exceptional governance. The report also offers an insight into our commitment to diversity, particularly on our Board. Read the full report here.
Working to drive up economic growth and jobs
Our Chief Executive, Jonathan Sharrock recently explained the steps we are taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by working with government to agree a new deal for the local economy.
“We are delighted to be working closely with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to agree a ‘Getting Building Fund’ investment of £19.2 million for the Coast to Capital area. The fund has been set up to invest in local infrastructure projects to drive economic growth in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis."
Read the full statement here.