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Showcasing seven key successes in seven years

14 February 2019

At the end of her second and final term in office, SEMLEP’s Dr Ann Limb CBE DL reflects on SEMLEP’s impact on strengthening the economy in South East Midlands and the UK as a whole.  

Appointed as SEMLEP’s founding Chair in September 2011, the network of the then 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships were created at a time when the country was coming out of a double-dip recession. Over this period, the strategic input of a unique partnership between the public and private sector was critical to steering investment decisions into areas that would have the biggest economic impact and restore confidence in our local and national economy. 

Under her leadership, SEMLEP has:

  • launched SEMLEP’s first Business Plan ‘Getting down to Business’ in 2013, the 2014 Strategic Economic Plan; and the refreshed economic plan ‘Where Innovation Fuels Growth’ in 2017 with the mission to double the size of the local economy by 2050.
  • delivered an investment programme totalling £265million, contributing over 20,000 jobs and 30,000 homes in the area by 2030 through the Growing Places Fund and the Local Growth Fund.
  • established the area’s Growth Hub, SEMLEP’s business support service for small and medium businesses, which has worked directly with over 2000 businesses each year, and with 20% of businesses receiving over 12 hours of intensive business support and advice.
  • successfully merged with our neighbouring LEP, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership in 2016, creating an economic area of over 2 million people. SEMLEP was the first LEP in the country to eliminate geographic overlap, leading the way for LEPs which are now merging as a result of the governmental LEP review in July 2018.
  • set up from scratch a strong new organisation recognised by the government as a well-performing, well-managed LEP with good governance, successfully achieving investment spend targets year on year.
  • developed the area’s Local Industrial Strategy, due to be published this coming Spring, which sets out how the South East Midlands can boost productivity, earning potential and competitiveness in a post-EU, global economy. 
  • overseen the development of an economy that, from 2011 to today, has grown from £46bn to £54bn GVA, and over 90,000 businesses, building 6% of national house building requirements, compared to 3.6% of the country’s population, and recognised as one of the most innovative LEP areas in the country. 

Reflecting on the last seven years, Ann says:

“It has been a huge privilege to chair SEMLEP since its inception and to oversee such phenomenal development and delivery by SEMLEP’s dedicated and talented team.

“It has been an honour to lead on skills nationally for the LEP Network and to have been able to promote SEMLEP’s delivery successes across the board to government Ministers on so many significant occasions.

“With such strong foundations in place SEMLEP will play a leading role going forward in the Ox-Cam Arc.” 

The strategic role of Local Enterprise Partnerships remains of critical importance today as it was back in 2011. Responding to EU Exit and the international trade agreements that will follow will require continuation of the strategic leadership and expertise, collaborative working and evidence-based policy decision making that Ann’s leadership has provided SEMLEP over the last seven years.   

Ann has been invited by the LEP Network nationally to take up the role of the Network's inaugural LEP Ambassador. 

Ann’s last Board meeting will be 27 February 2019, when the SEMLEP Board is to ratify the appointment of their new Chair. 


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