Funding announced for maritime industry in Portsmouth

Summary: BAE Systems, Portsmouth City Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership have joined forces to support the Solent Futures SME Supply Chain Fund, which will launch at Portsmouth Naval Base in August.

The Solent Futures SME Supply Chain Fund forms part of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, with £4.7 million of investment funding available to help SMEs in the Portsmouth Naval Base supply chain in the Solent region.

As the shipbuilding sector starts to come off a recent peak of activity driven by construction of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, The maritime services sector in Solent will accommodate the recently completed Queen Elizabeth Class flagships, the first of which is expected to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.

Funding will be allocated to small firms via a competitive bidding process and applications will be assessed by a panel comprising representatives from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Portsmouth City Council and BAE Systems.

The Regional Growth Fund was set up to support growth and jobs in areas that rely on the public sector. The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was formed after the Government offered local areas the opportunity to take control of their future economic development. It is a locally-owned partnership between businesses and local authorities and plays a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs.

The Solent LEP is led by the business community and supported by four university partners, the further education sector, three unitary authorities, eight district councils, one county council and the voluntary and community sector – all working together to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Solent area.

The formal launch of the fund will take place on 28 August at Portsmouth Naval Base.

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