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South East Midlands

The South East Midlands is a rapidly growing and innovative economy. Benefiting from connections to London and the Midlands, international routes and close proximity to global cities of Oxford and Cambridge, the South East Midlands area is a network of towns, interspersed with high-quality rural areas and a rich natural environment.

Make the Connection

Our area is where progressive companies come to collaborate, to innovate and to succeed. The area’s connectivity has, over decades, attracted highly skilled people into businesses and research institutions that now lead innovation in some of the UK’s fastest-growing, high technology sectors.

By investing in people, places and business, the South East Midlands is where we create opportunity.


Our area

The South East Midlands occupies a strategically important location,
linking Oxford, Cambridge, London and the Midlands. The area is
comprised of local authority areas: 

  • Bedford Borough
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Luton
  • Milton Keynes

  • Northamptonshire

From 1 April 2020, Aylesbury Vale District Council will not be part of the SEMLEP area. We continue to work with Buckinghamshire LEP and the local authority on SEMLEP-funded projects in the area, and work closely with the other Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Mayoral Combined Authority across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Innovation - Where ideas become reality

This is the area where clever ideas and new technologies coalesce into smart business solutions.

Businesses in the South East Midlands are at the cutting-edge of new technology, driving research and furthering expertise in critical sectors. We have one of the strongest levels of university-business collaboration in the country, and businesses here are consistently top in terms of product and service innovation.

This area competes globally with sector capabilities across aerospace, automotive testing, advanced manufacturing, engineering and design, robotics and software development and electronics. It is home to clusters of business and expertise in high-performance technology and precision engineering, digital and creative, agri-tech and the food and drink sector and logistics.

Business Environment - Growth by design 

This area is forecast to grow at a rate faster than any other UK region.  We are home to 83,000 businesses, with one of the highest rates of business start-up and survival rates. Connecting the area’s development opportunities and ambition to grow with innovation strengths across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, we have become the UK’s most attractive place to commercialise new technologies. 

A network of investment and business development professionals in our local councils work jointly with SEMLEP, government departments and other agencies to support companies looking to set up or expand in the area. 

Specialist support for businesses to start-up, scale-up and succeed can be reached through SEMLEP’s Growth Hub service.
Access the support here.

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Oxford-Cambridge Arc

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc contains some of the UK's most productive and innovative towns and cities that deliver growth and prosperity for the whole country. Government recognises the potential of Arc area as a strategically important area to stimulate economic growth in the national interest. The South East Midlands LEP area is located at the core of the Arc. 

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People & Workforce Skills

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Research, Innovation & Universities

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Access to Finance

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Business Support

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Sectors & Expertise

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Land & Premises

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Infrastructure & Connectivity

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