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What Is a Local Enterprise Partnership?


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A Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a partnership between local authorities and businesses that seek to foster enterprise and innovation in their local area.  There are 38 LEPs in the UK.

Often the areas LEPs represent correspond with counties, but sometimes represent larger regions, such as the New Anglia LEP. Some focus on smaller regions that cross official borders, such as the Humber LEP.

LEPs are crucial for determining and enacting local economic priorities.

How do LEPs work? 

Essentially, Local Enterprise Partnerships act as coordinators within their regions, looking to get all the parties involved in local enterprise into a position where they can work together effectively and efficiently.

In an LEP, that can include companies of any size and stage of evolution. At one end of the spectrum, there are large multinationals with operations in the area or who want to expand in that area, such as Nissan, who operate a large factory in Sunderland (part of the North East LEP).

At the other end, there are early-stage startups—who are key in bringing new products to market and disrupting old business models—and “scaleup” businesses, who are growing fast and have proven levels of revenue and employee headcount growth. 

Other relevant parties could include universities, whose research labs are important sources of innovation and intellectual capital. There are also funders and corporate financiers, who help determine flows of investment into the local region.

Co-operation with local government is critical for LEP networks, as they formulate policies and decisions which could have clear implications for the local business community and its economic growth. For example, if Nissan and the University of Newcastle wanted to establish a new manufacturing R&D park on the outskirts of the city, this would require close work with local authorities. The local LEP could help facilitate this.

The job of a Local Enterprise Partnership is to ensure that coordination between these parties is conducive to a thriving economy, that can compete on larger national and regional stages. It is LEPs’ best interest to make their regions as attractive as possible for  promising startups and SMEs—possibly even enough for businesses to move across regional boundaries. 

How can Beauhurst help Local Enterprise Partnerships? 

The Beauhurst platform can form an invaluable tool to LEPs, as it allows them to assess just how welcoming their region is to entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses, including startups, scaleups and university spinouts. Importantly, Beauhurst can also act like a much more UX-focussed and detailed version of Companies House, allowing LEPs to quickly review every company in the UK and understand their region at a more granular level.

The platform makes it easy to review the levels of investment into these companies, and see which funds and accelerators are particularly active in their locality. Users can search across a wide range of factors and agents relating to high-growth business ecosystems, providing the data for strategic economic plans and local job creation.

This can be particularly useful in identifying the companies in need of further business support, allowing LEPs to efficiently allocate funds from local growth funds or help to source funding from the private sector. LEPs will also want to target companies that are most successful within their region, to understand why some perform better than others and ensure high-growth businesses are supported via Growth Hubs.

The Beauhurst platform allows users to to search across LEPs themselves, and even by coronavirus impact tagsIf you would like to know more about this feature, then please do get in touch!

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