Blogs - 20 December 2013

A Christmas Message from D2N2 Chief Executive David Ralph


D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive David Ralph

As we head into Christmas, we do so at a time when the economy is showing signs of promise. 

This year saw a general increase in business confidence throughout 2013 across most sectors and even challenging areas such as construction showed positive improvements towards the end of the year. 

As for us at D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, it has certainly been 12 months of change and significant progress. 

I arrived as Chief Executive in March and with Peter Richardson as Chairman, we had 3 clear objectives:

  • To raise the profile of he LEP
  • Carry out a governance review
  • Accelerate delivery and the case to Government

On completion of the governance review, the private-sector led board was strengthened to 15 members including representatives for the borough and district councils across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Further Education, Higher Education, the Voluntary Sector together with further business representation. It was also agreed that BIS would act as observers and Local Authorities were encouraged to progress a model for closer working to help embed more joined-up delivery. 

2013 saw success in D2N2’s three core products. Firstly the Nottingham Enterprise Zone. A tri-partite agreement was completed to facilitate a new infrastructure which will open up the site to future investment and MediCity, a collaboration between BioCity and Boots, opened on the site, marking a significant step forward. 

In early 2013 our successful bid to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, topped up with European funds, meant £6.8m was available through our Unlocking Investment for Growth programme administered on our behalf by EMB. 

S&S Plastics in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, FC Laser in Ilkeston and Street Crane in the High Peak are three of the first success stories and D2N2 is already working with grant offers to applicants totalling £1.3 million to help create well over 100 long-term jobs in the area and pave the way for many more. This is still open to applications. 

Our Growing Places Fund helped three projects get off the ground, totalling over 400 jobs and was opened up to a second round of applications and we are currently appraising a further 24 expressions of interest. 

A key milestone was launching the D2N2 Strategy for Growth at Pride Park in July and just yesterday, we submitted the first draft of our Strategic Economic Plan to Government, which will form our Growth Deal next year as we look to help create 55,000 jobs in our area by 2023. The LEP also launched its skills plan and low carbon action plan. 

2014 will be hugely significant. The final submission regarding our European Structural funding will be submitted in January and the final Strategic Economic Plan submitted in March, with the Growth Deal then expected to be announced in July when we find out how much we will receive from the Single Local Growth Fund. 

This will mark a significant change at D2N2, from planning and evidence collection to delivery and implementation and this will coincide with the availability of our European Structural Funds, which are set to flow towards the end of 2014, with the Single Local Growth funding flowing from March 2015. 

It has been busy but very positive 12 months of progress and we expect to see further acceleration throughout 2014 – after a short respite to recharge the batteries and enjoy the Christmas break. 

I would like to wish everybody a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

David Ralph

Chief Executive


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