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Back our Great Western Freeport bid

We’re bidding to host a Great Western Freeport that could create up to 50,000 jobs in the region and 90,000 nationally. We have put together the bid working with public and private sector partners, including large-scale businesses across the aerospace and nuclear sector, the region’s universities and colleges, innovation centres, local authorities and business networks.

Our Great Western Freeport brochure highlights how it would bring regeneration and jobs and boost the region’s reputation as a global leader in high-value design and innovation, building on strengths in aerospace, nuclear and food manufacturing. A freeport would also encourage significant growth in green manufacturing and technologies, for example developing the next generation of low carbon aircrafts, nuclear fusion and digital engineering.

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Embrace the power of apprenticeships

We’re helping businesses to embrace the power of apprenticeships, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. Apprenticeships will play a key role in supporting businesses and residents – both now and for the future, as part of the region’s economic recovery.

Our Workforce for the Future programme is funding the new West of England Apprenticeship Service for small and medium-sized businesses, launched by the Western Training Provider Network. The service provides free impartial apprenticeship support for businesses to help meet their business needs.

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Investing £11.8m in creative industries

More big-budget film and TV productions could be attracted to the region with an £11.8m investment from WECA to expand The Bottle Yard Studios. The funding is a significant commitment to the West of England’s creative industries, which are an important part of the regional economy and will be key to its recovery.

The Bottle Yard Studios hosts wide range of productions, including drama, children’s TV, feature films, gameshows and commercials. Its growth will help support other businesses across the region which rely on film and TV production opportunities.

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£6.7m support for innovation

As part of our plans for regional recovery, we’re investing £6.7m to support businesses to get their new ideas off the drawing board and into reality, creating the jobs of the future. This will be used to help businesses innovate, adapting and creating new products and services to reach new customers.
Programmes supported by the fund include:
  • An extension of the successful Business Innovation Fund – providing 25 new grants of up to £50,000 to bring new products, services and processes to market
  • Support for businesses to improve their technological and digital capabilities through equipment grants and training
  • Funding for collaborative Research and Development projects responding to important challenges, for example in health, climate change or social care
  • Support to develop protection of Intellectual Property (IP) helping businesses gain competitive advantage.

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E-scooter expansion to South Glos and North Bristol

Residents in parts of South Gloucestershire, as well as new areas in North Bristol will soon be able to use rental e-scooters to access essential work and services.

Following the successful launch of our e-scooter trial, the trial area for the ‘hop-on hop-off’ e-scooters is expanding to include Horfield and Lockleaze in Bristol and areas such as Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Filton in South Gloucestershire.

£7.5m boost for Kingswood High Street
A major scheme to rejuvenate Kingswood High Street has been given a £7.5m boost by the WECA Committee. The provisional investment is linked to our Love our High Streets programme and is subject to Government funding being secured. It presents a significant opportunity to lever in a provisional award of £12.2m through the Government’s Future High Streets programme, alongside £4.8m from South Gloucestershire Council.
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Become a volunteer Enterprise Adviser
Could you help our schools to inspire the next generation of employees? Then our West of England Enterprise Adviser Network needs you – to help improve careers education and advice for young people. Training is provided and it is a great way to give something back to the community while also supporting your own professional development.

Find out more by joining one of our online recruitment sessions on 24 or 26 February. 
Follow this link to book a place.
Mayor's blog
In this week's blog, Mayor Tim Bowles talks about our bid to create the Great Western Freeport.


The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) covers
Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
WECA also supports the Local Enterprise Partnership and
Joint Committee, which includes North Somerset.

Our mailing address is:
West of England Combined Authority, 3 Rivergate, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6ER

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