Annual Report showcases impact of Business Board investments on jobs and enterprise
An annual report capturing the business support and jobs benefits resulting from investments from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board has been formally published.
The Business Board is the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the region tasked with creating and protecting jobs, supporting businesses, boosting skills and ultimately supporting economic growth.
The annual report describes the performance and highlights of the 2020/21 period, and the more outcome-focussed, commercially-driven approach to investing in the region’s economy. It was presented to the Combined Authority Board on Wednesday (November 24).
The period covered by the report was hugely affected by Covid-19 and one of the highlights is the Business Board’s rapid economic response in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. A £6 million investment in different businesses across the region resulted in the creation of 287 jobs, the protection of 522, and support for those enterprises to grow and adapt to new trading conditions. This immediate response is also paired with a regularly refreshed and ongoing Local Economic Recovery Strategy, working with local partners to support the economy through Covid-19.
The Business Board has overseen improvements to the outcomes from investments from the Local Growth Fund. Under the previous Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, one job was created for every £71,000 of investment. Initial data under the current Business Board stewardship suggests a much-improved cost of £24,000 cost per job. The most recent Local Growth Fund investment is delivering at an average cost per job of £7,500 – nearly a tenth of the cost.
The progress of ARU Peterborough, the city’s new university, is also reported. The Business Board was initially instrumental in helping to get the project moving and has supported the development with a package of funding of £28 million across three phases of the campus. Works began on phase 1 in December 2020, with the first students set to start courses in September 2022. Work on phase 2, a research and development building, with £13.7 million of funding from the Getting Building Fund through the Business Board, has just started.
A key milestone for the year was the launch of Growth Works – a unique, integrated service strengthening the support offer for businesses, learners and workers across the region. Growth Works combines growth coaching, inward investment, skills brokerage and grants and investment and has already had a positive impact on the economy. Growth Works will aim to create 5,278 new jobs, 1,400 new apprenticeships, and generate significant inward investment into Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the next three years.
To further highlight the impacts, the Annual Report also describes seven case studies from businesses across the region and from different sectors which have benefitted from Business Board support.
The Board is made up of experienced local business leaders from a range of backgrounds including as executives, entrepreneurs, consultants and academics. Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson and Deputy Mayor Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald are also members of the Business Board.
Austen Adams, chair of the Business Board, said:
“The Business Board is making a difference and we want to shout about it. We wanted this report to reflect the Business Board’s laser-like focus on real outcomes for people and business across the whole region, delivering good value for money for every investment made.
“The Annual Report is a real showcase for what we can do and is something we will share with both existing and future potential partners. The more that is known about the Business Board’s work, the greater the opportunity to work with businesses, the education and skills sector and with potential investors nationally and globally, in driving growth, jobs and economic prosperity to the region.
“Covid-19 has made 2020-21 an extraordinary year, but I think both our quick response to the crisis, while also continuing with long term investments in programmes like Growth Works and ARU Peterborough, means we can look back on a year of real achievement. That is captured in this report.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said:
“As a member of the Business Board I have been hugely impressed at the breadth of experience and insight from all of its members. That knowledge is delivering results and this Annual Report is a very powerful document showing how its investments are supporting enterprise and skills which underpin stronger communities and better lives for people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”