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01 October 2020

Dorset LEP celebrates a successful year with AGM and launch of Annual Report

Dorset LEP celebrates a successful year with AGM and launch of Annual Report

On 22 September 2020, we hosted our Annual General Meeting (AGM), sharing our progress and achievements in 2019/20. In line with social distancing measures, our public event took place via video conference. Presented by Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP, attendees to the AGM were able to learn more about our achievements and ambitions. 

To date, our various projects and initiatives have facilitated 1,865 new homes and the creation of 2,328 new jobs, supported 1,702 businesses and trained 5,385 people across the county. 

Our business support entity, Dorset Gateway, has signposted over 1,000 businesses during challenging times and continued to provide bid writing support enabling Dorset’s innovative businesses to secure grant funding from the likes of Innovate UK. Additionally, Dorset Gateway hosted two national conferences focused on accelerating a high potential sector of ‘One Health’ which provides local human, animal and environmental health sector players with funding and planning support to stimulate Dorset projects. 

From early March and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased our business support directing them to the latest guidance and available funding, while also implementing additional recovery initiatives such as Crowdfund Dorset Business in an effort to protect Dorset’s economy.

Our skills and careers offering has continued to grow with the successful Enterprise Advisor Network engaging with schools across the county and Dorset Careers Hub going from strength to strength. The Dorset 2020: Employer Skills Survey report engaged 242 businesses with findings identifying current and future skills training requirements in Dorset – this has more recently been supported by monitoring labour marketing intelligence to inform recovery initiatives. In support of skills developments in Dorset, over £1.7 million of Local Growth Funding was also allocated to local further education institutions to equip Dorset’s younger generation with the facilities they need to develop much needed skills for Dorset’s business growth.

Lorna Carver, Director of Dorset LEP shared: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended our AGM and am proud to share the 2019/20 Annual Report. 2019/20 truly has been remarkable in many ways. Our business support initiatives have been a valuable and well used resource during what has been, and continues to be, a difficult year.  We continue to work with our schools to deliver our expanded skills and careers offering, and continue to attract investment into Dorset.  

“We have forged ahead with our £98.4 million Local Growth Fund allocation and Growing Places Fund which have seen investment in over 63 projects in Dorset to date. Thanks to our careful portfolio management, another twelve projects were enabled during 2019/20. 

We also reviewed and simplified our governance structure as part of our commitment to working to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and regulation”.

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP Board, said: “Following a challenging but rewarding year, Dorset LEP continues to play a vital role in supporting businesses across England, creating the strategic direction for local economies, and implementing effective, timely and results driven programmes. COVID-19 has hit the UK economy hard. We are operating in uncertain and challenging times. Never has it been more important for local communities to receive the financial support, advice, and investment they deserve. Dorset LEP is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure our business community remains resilient and can not only survive but thrive.”

We continue to receive funding from local partners as well as central government through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


Find out more and read our interactive online Annual Report

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