An independent evaluation of LEP Growth Hubs between 2015 and 2020, commissioned by the government, concludes that LEP Growth Hubs increase turnover, business R&D, access to finance, and job creation.
LEP Growth Hubs, are currently funded to March 2024 with a final decision on future funding yet to be decided. The report, conducted by Technopolis and published on the government website, seeks to consider how LEP Growth Hubs operate at national, regional, and local levels, and to inform future decisions about policy and funding. The report shows that:
- LEP Growth Hubs are successful, and proven to work, especially for SMEs and have “a strong reputation for reliability and independence among stakeholders, partners, and businesses”.
- They reached 8% of all businesses in England – higher than the 2.5% ambition set in BEIS reporting.
- Growth Hubs simplify the business support landscape, undertaking significant stakeholder engagement and management, enabling local businesses to access the support and help available in their local areas.
- National and regional stakeholders saw Growth Hubs’ as having a unique understanding of local needs and strengths. This local strength and insight reaches local businesses where national programmes may not.
- Engagement with LEP Growth Hubs boosted employment levels for supported businesses – beneficiaries demonstrated an average 14% increase in employment one year after first engagement and an average 22% increase in employment after five years.
- In terms of turnover, there is clear sustained growth. Relative to the baseline, beneficiaries report an average increase of £782k one year after the first intervention, compared to £294k for non-beneficiaries. The equivalent increase five years post GH engagement is higher, at £953k.
- Businesses see the ‘human centred’ approach being of “immense value”, in terms of both dealing with partners and business beneficiaries, business felt this was “essential and advantageous, particularly in times of heightened uncertainty”.
- In conclusion LEP Growth Hub outcomes increased business R&D, access to finance, turnover, and job creation for local businesses
LEP Network Chair Mark Bretton, said:
This report confirms what local businesses experience on the ground – LEP Growth Hubs are successful and proven to work. But, as the report makes clear, two things make that happen – a strong reputation for reliability and independence and a ‘human centred’ approach. These are essential and advantageous, particularly in times of heightened uncertainty. That uncertainty is more acute than ever, hence the role of LEP Growth Hubs has never been more valuable in enabling and supporting local businesses to start up, scale up, invest and export.
Learn more about the support available through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.