Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has put in place a series of initiatives to support the region’s economy.
It is also considering some of the longer-term support that businesses will need after the current crisis.
Dorset LEP’s business growth center, Dorset Gateway, provides signage to a range of advice and support, key account management and a free specialist offer writing service – all fully funded to help support Dorset businesses.
Calls to Dorset Gateway about COVID-19 were recorded as early as early March, when businesses first felt the impact of the outbreak. By mid-March, Dorset LEP had invested in additional resources to help companies orient companies towards local and national support, seconded existing staff to new and temporary roles, helped companies apply for government funding and launched a COVID-19 business impact survey for Dorset.
Finn Morgan, Dorset Gateway Manager, said: “These initiatives mean that there is more help for businesses that need advice and support, and that we are better able to collect intelligence data. ‘local affairs, which are reported to the government department for business, energy and industrial strategy as national plans are developed. This information will also allow us to identify areas requiring specific support so that we can adapt and coordinate our resources to best meet the needs of our local businesses.
Jim Stewart, President of Dorset LEP, said: ‘I urge all businesses to bring their concerns to us through this survey, the Dorset Gateway service or your local MP, so that we can present an image to Dorset scale to government. I represent Dorset in a national LEP cabinet and we are in regular contact with the government through different departments and MPs to highlight the needs of our businesses and communities.
“As we look to the future, Dorset LEP is exploring additional sources of funding, envisioning a broader package of business resilience support for local businesses, including exit transition arrangements from the EU, as well as a fully funded consultancy offering to Dorset businesses. ”
Lorna Carver, Director of Dorset LEP, said: “To date Dorset LEP has invested our Growth Deal funding in 50 projects across the county; 24 of them are now completed and 17 in progress. Thanks to effective project management, Dorset LEP has also awarded £ 8.1million to 15 additional projects. It is this successful program of delivery and management that has allowed us to take an early and important first step in supporting the recovery of our community.
Additionally, through the Dorset Careers Hub, Dorset LEP supports over 40 Dorset schools, engaging with employers and coordinating a network of business advisers to work with education providers. The team has now developed a bank of virtual learning and career guidance materials to support students, career leaders, teachers and parents. Find resources