Posted on:
6th December, 2022

LEPs are helping to accelerate high performance tech to grow their local economies

LEPs like Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership are working with local partners to develop future sectors such as space, health tech, and rocket propulsion that will help build local economic growth.

LEPs are helping to accelerate high performance tech to grow their local economies

Working together can produce spectacular results – that is the message being delivered by members of the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Three key sites within the Enterprise Zone (EZ) - Silverstone Park, Westcott Venture Park and Arla/Woodlands have been identified as having synergies providing untapped potential to power future economic growth and attract investment for the region. 

With the EZ set up as a partnership between the public and private sectors designed to deliver commercial development, the aim is to accelerate this by developing working relationships across the high-performance technology, motorsport, space, rocket propulsion, engineering, agricultural and health sectors.

The Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is acting as a facilitator through its close contacts with the businesses and knowledge of their needs and aspirations.

By bringing businesses together at networking events and exhibitions, and igniting conversations across specialist cluster groups, the aim is to deliver mutually beneficial growth.

Richard Harrington, CEO of the Buckinghamshire LEP, said: “We know that by making introductions and encouraging collaboration, businesses can help each other drive innovation and prosper.

“We are already seeing the benefits in key areas, for example the common ground between motorsport and the space industry which is unlocking huge potential with the cross-fertilisation of ideas and technology.”

The Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC) located in the Silverstone Enterprise Zone, exists to help advanced engineering, electronics and software businesses around Silverstone with promotion and growth through partnerships.

Located in the Enterprise Zone of the Westcott Venture Park, the Westcott Space Cluster is home to a growing nucleus of space-related companies developing innovative technologies in rocket propulsion, 5G communications and autonomous systems.

Special interest groups have been formed across both business clusters to bring like-minded companies together to network, debate the latest developments in the industry and seek out new commercial opportunities.

Tony Forsythe, Head of Space Technology at the UK Space Agency said: “The newest collaboration has seen the Bucks LEP initiating meetings between the UK Space Agency, the STC and Silverstone-based technology organisations.  A programme of activity is now in place and an official announcement was made about this partnership at the Silverstone Technology Cluster Conference last week.”

Workshops are planned to focus on areas such as transmitter/receiver technology, science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives and quality assurance procedures/techniques.

Another initiative set up by the LEP is a working agreement between the Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) based at Silverstone Park and the Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) which is running the In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing Facility (IOSM) at Westcott Venture Park within the Westcott Space Cluster.

With the UK government aiming to capture 10 per cent of the global space sector by 2030, this new partnership marks an important development in establishing a national space supply chain for advanced manufacturing (AM).

The new partnership will work with organisations developing orbital capabilities and address key challenges for in-orbit servicing and manufacturing, such as assembly without conventional fasteners.

The DMC will draw on its experience developing structures for the motorsport sector and combine it with the SAC’s deep knowledge of the IOSM to create new and optimised solutions. As a result, synergies that exist between motorsport, space, and advanced engineering are exploited.

The Bucks LEP takes a leading role in activities across the EZ clusters, bringing groups together where they know there is the potential for wider collaboration. They support collaborative bids and schemes such as the Innovate UK innovation cluster development programme to support jobs, growth, and higher productivity.  Bucks LEP has also just launched a £500,000 Westcott Accelerator and Incubation Programme at Westcott Venture Park

There is an aspiration to develop these working collaborations further across the EZ sites, putting Bucks businesses in contact with other funding sources and access to networking events like the monthly Westcott Engage events and igniting conversations across the specialist cluster groups.

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Note to editors

The Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP) is a business-led ‘partnership of equals’ between local government and the private sector, building the conditions for sustainable economic growth in the County.

Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF) is the Growth Hub for the county and is backed by Buckinghamshire-based entrepreneurs, thousands of SMEs, the Buckinghamshire LEP and Buckinghamshire Council. BBF provides the link between public policy and the business community in Buckinghamshire and works with partners to create a dynamic business environment in the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain.