The Government’s purpose for Local Enterprise Partnerships is to help ‘strengthen local economies’ and ‘facilitate local economic renewal’. EU funding requires economic activity to address social exclusion. Alongside this, many LEPs have chosen to seek inclusive growth and address areas of deprivation as valuable aims in their own right. The Localising Prosperity agenda provides ways of distinguishing growth that creates local, shared prosperity from growth that does not.
Localising prosperity is a way of multiplying the benefits where investment is available, but it also works where external investment is not available, by rebuilding the economy from within. It involves rethinking how we support our localities, redesign the networks and mechanisms which make up our local economies and rebuild an area’s economic and social capacity.
Tactics for LEPs & business networks to maximise local economic benefits
Elements to integrate into strategies, programmes and bids include:
– Involve locally-owned businesses, those demonstrating local commitment and those based in disadvantaged areas in decision-making such as LEP boards and Chambers.
– Understand the power of the ‘local multiplier’ & act on it: plug ‘leaks’ from the local economy, particularly deprived areas, so that more money circulates and multiplies locally.
– Prioritise the needs of SMEs in infrastructure, access to funding and skills. Commit to “SME-proof” decisions.
– Seek opportunities for worker buyouts or co-operatives so that more people are ‘owners’.
– Use consumer, industry and public demand creators such as the retrofitting agenda or procurement to develop local supply chains and product or service innovation.
– Prioritise ‘infrastructure’ businesses that link and generate local supply and demand – such as project developers, wholesale markets, processors. Seek structural opportunities for new businesses.
– Foster networks of innovation based within local institutions, businesses and communities.
– Consider local connectivity as well as global: the latter depends on the former.
– Ensure physical regeneration projects, enterprise zones and inward investment support local supply and demand chains, rather than undermining them.
– Reflect the need for locally-controlled and locally-responsive support services (finance, business support, planning, training)
– Maximise local resource use, including through industrial symbiosis, to increase efficiency.
See our case studies including a radical economic development partnership in Montreal, another in Cape Breton, a foundry worker buyout, negotiating the role of multinationals, and meeting local demand with enterprise development.
Printable Briefing for LEPS & business networks (pdf)