The Scope of this Call for Expressions of Interest


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Growth Hub Network Project Expression of Interest

Cheltenham, Stroud, Forest of Dean


RETURN DATE: 23rd June 2017



Background

In July 2014 Gfirst LEP secured £77.5 million of funding from government to support its Strategic Economic Plan for growth in the county. One of LEP’s flagship projects in the Strategic Economic Plan is the Growth Hub. The Growth Hub at Oxstalls, Gloucester opened in October 2014 and has been a huge success with over 7,500 unique visitors and businesses support interventions delivered. www.thegrowthhub.biz

The Growth Hub helps businesses realise their potential and grow. It provides a free impartial diagnostic and sign posting service to businesses of any size and any sector and support leading to the creation of Growth Plans and impartial brokerage services for businesses with moderate and high growth potential.

The Scope of this Call for Expressions of Interest

For this round of procurement GFirst LEP are looking for partners to deliver Tier 1 and Tier 2 Network centres to cover the districts of Cheltenham, Stroud and the Forest of Dean.

What will the Growth Hub Network do?

The key aim of the Growth Hub is to grow the Gloucestershire economy above the national rate of growth. There are three core principles that drive this aim:

  1. Providing support for businesses to enable business growth

  2. Providing support for individuals to enable them to reach and exploit their full potential

  3. Creating opportunities for businesses to meet, network and promote their services to each other


To extend the reach of the Growth Hub we are looking for partners to become part of this exciting project. It is not prescribed who the partners will be, and they may include educational institutions, local authorities, business representative/support organisations, sector bodies, individual or groups of businesses, or others. Alongside capital investment to create attractive and vibrant facilities for businesses to access, partners will be supported by central Growth Hub activities and a digital infrastructure to deliver the ‘virtual’ Growth Hub and facilitate reporting processes. We are looking for locations which will be unique but create comfortable places for businesses to work and network whilst reflecting and meeting the needs of businesses in their locations. The aim is to create a ‘no wrong door’ approach for businesses with locations clearly branded and operated as part of the Growth Hub.



The primary customers of the Growth Hub are businesses so all potential partners will need to clearly evidence the business community they will serve and support from businesses, business membership groups and local authorities in the area within their proposals.

The Network will be delivered via a Tiered model:

Tier 1: - Specialist Resource Centres that provide support to targeted high growth potential businesses, including technical, sector-specific, R&D and innovation support.

Tier 2: - Generic or General Resource Centres which will provide access to the wider Growth Hub network and a wide range of business support services, networking and work space and potentially business incubation support for new start up businesses.
Tier 1 and 2 Network centres will need to demonstrate how they will:

  • Provide physical Growth Hub centres

  • Provide a free impartial diagnostic and sign posting service to businesses of any size and any sector.

  • For businesses that meet the EU eligibility criteria and can demonstrate moderate growth ambitions, Network centres must provide and evidence Navigator services leading to the creation of Growth Plans and impartial brokerage services.

  • Ensure the referral of high growth potential businesses to the core Growth Hub.

  • Provide networking opportunities.

  • Provide opportunities to meet support providers/professionals.

  • Signposting to specialist advice provided elsewhere.

  • Support and build the network of business support and skills providers that are working with the Growth Hub.

  • Work with the core Growth Hub to share intelligence about the need and demand for new products and services.

It is important that all Tier 1 and 2 proposals also clearly demonstrate how they will -

  1. Display clear corporate branding.

  2. Facilitate Growth Hub delivery as a result of this funding and add to/complement and not directly compete with existing business support facilities in their local catchment areas.

  3. Demonstrate how they will pay for ongoing revenue costs including staffing, property and IT infrastructure.

  4. Ensure compliance with the standards and reporting processes set out by Gfirst LEP and other funding partners including government departments and EU funding streams.

  5. Comply with use of the central Customer Relationship Management system and website.

  6. Ensure their long-term financial sustainability.

Capital

As a guide we anticipate project bids for capital grant support to the following values but it is recognised that there may be cross over of Tier 1, 2 and 3 delivery within centres.

  • Up to a maximum amount of £1 million for Tier 1 Network Centres.

  • Up to a maximum amount of £500,000 for Tier 2 Network Centres

European Regional Development Funding

Central Growth Hub services are delivered by the University of Gloucestershire from the Growth Hub at Oxstalls Campus utilising European Regional Development funding (ERDF). All Tier 1 and Tier 2 partners will, through a service level agreement, commit to deliver and evidence activity that is compliant with ERDF guidelines, training and support will be provided.

You are invited to complete this expression of interest form and return it by 23rd June. A shortlist of projects will be then be offered the opportunity to submit a full business case. These will be reviewed by a panel, which will select the most compelling projects to become part of the Network. We recognise that projects are unlikely to be fully developed, so some details will be estimated, but it is essential that you express the main points clearly, so that your project is easily understood. It is important that you submit an expression of interest even if you do not plan to start your activity immediately. Funding is available through to 2019/2020 and we would want to consider your interest as part of our future plans for the Network.

Please remember that only capital funding is available and not revenue funding so you will need to demonstrate how you will staff and run your Growth Hub centre. You will also need to provide details as to how you will continue to sustain your Growth Hub activity in the longer term.
Please also remember that face to face Growth Hub services and diagnostics must result in the impartial signposting of businesses to the most appropriate support for their needs.
Proposals must support Growth in Gloucestershire and should address the priorities outlined in the Strategic Economic Plan.

http://www.gfirstlep.com/gfirst-LEP/Our-Priorities/Our-Vision/
Please submit your Expression of Interest (respecting the word count limitations) to GFirstadminteam@gfirst.co.uk





Name of Proposal




Date prepared


Name, Organisation and contact details of Proposal Sponsor (person preparing the proposal)




Email Address




Telephone Number





Date of Review (for LEP use)





Reviewed By (for LEP use)







The proposal (max 200 words)

(Brief, succinct ‘Elevator pitch’ that explains how your project will support engagement with the business community and support economic growth for the county. To achieve this we are seeking £x, to invest in yy. As a result we will deliver xx outputs and xx outcomes, leveraging in £ xx from yyy.)



Strategic Growth (max 100 words)

(What is the strategic rationale? Which strategic partners have you engaged with to develop this project and are they supportive of it?)


Outputs (max 50 words)

(Type and estimated outputs directly achieved from this investment eg – Visitors, businesses engaged, Jobs created direct and indirect, floor space – net additional new or refurbished sq metre)


Outcomes (max 50 words)

(Type and estimated outcomes indirectly associated with this investment)


Demand (max 200 words)

(Why is your project needed? What evidence do you have of business demand for your project from businesses, business membership groups and local authority teams?)


Context (max 100 words)

(What is the wider context? How does this enhance or complement current or planned initiatives or investments? Is this part of a wider package of investment?)


Options appraisal (max 50 words)

(Why is public funding necessary? Why can’t your project or part of your project be funded by other means?)


Financial: (max 50 words)

(List main capital costs; State how much in total you are asking for; List types and amounts of other funds leveraged into the project)


Sustainability: (max 150 words)

(Explain how and from where the revenue funding has been/will be obtained to cover on going costs such as staffing for the provision of the Growth Hub service and property maintenance. How else will you ensure the project is sustainable?)


Timeline: (max 50 words)

(ideal start / end date for capital spend, project delivery period NB: Funding is available through to 2019/20)


Governance arrangements: (max 100 words)




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